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Computer Use Causing Nearsightedness?

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DP Eyecare Update

Q: A recent article in WebMD discussed a growing problem…..a “pandemic” of nearsightedness. With all of us spending hours on digital screens every day, especially children, we are asked about this in the clinic every day.

A: In the U.S. today, about 42% of us suffer with nearsightedness, called myopia. That’s twice as common as in 1970! The general consensus is that excessive screen use accelerates myopia progression. A review of 27 studies, involving 27,000 kids, found that with every hour spent on near vision activities each week the risk of developing nearsightedness increased 2%.

As the evidence grows, what can we do to slow or stop the development and progression of nearsightedness?

Several guidelines have been presented:

1. For children under 4, no more than an hour a day on screens
2. Keep your kids back 18” from the screen
3. Use the 20-20- 20 rule, meaning to set a timer for yourself and/or your kids so that every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away.

Digital Eyestrain

This digital eyestrain problem also causes dry eye symptoms for adults. While we normally blink about every 5 to 7 seconds, when we stare at digital screens that “blink rate” drops in half. Our eyes cannot stay moist so we eventually feel dry, scratchy, gritty and the dry eye surface makes our visionless crisp. Admittedly, it is hard to change your blink habits, but we now can treat your eyes to hold moisture longer without using eye drops.

Blue Light

The latest research about “blue light” is unclear, in my opinion, but in our clinic, we hear most patients telling us their blue-light-blocking lenses improve their computer vision comfort. Blue light from screens may cause damage inside our eyes like ultraviolet, UV, radiation but we are still learning. The obvious solution to many of these symptoms is to prescribe computer eyewear…..to reduce the near focusing demand on our eyes, and to hold more moisture on our eye surface by slowing evaporation, and to block out blue light radiation.

Regardless of age, if you or your kids are on digital screens over four hours a day, talk with your eye doctor about your best choices to protect your eyes, to improve your comfort, and to slow the myopia progression in youth. Preventive vision care is here!

Call Morgantown Eye Associates on 304-381-5353 to schedule an eye exam with our Morgantown optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

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Dealing with Your Tween's and Teen's Eyesight

Does Obesity Impact Eye Health?

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses