Screens are more stressful to the visual system than printed material. It is harder to read from a digital device than a book. The visual environment can impact vision and eye health. Studies show that digital screen time can lead to myopia development in children. Excessive use of digital devices can also lead to eyestrain, dry eye syndrome, and poor posture, which causes pain.
Myopia and Screen Time
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition characterized by blurry farsightedness. The condition usually develops in childhood and worsens every several months or years. The worsening usually continues until late teenage or early adulthood.
It is known as progressive myopia. It can affect a child’s quality of life and increase the risk of long-term eye health problems. Research shows the increasing use of digital devices has led to the prevalence of myopia. It also involves failing to spend enough time outdoors.
Use of Digital Devices
The use of digital devices is essential for schooling. When balanced with other activities, screen use can be beneficial. However, too much use of digital devices can affect vision and mental and physical health.
Children exposed to digital screens before they turn three are more likely to develop myopia before they begin preschool. The risk of myopia development due to digital device use is greater for children under 10. Using the devices can lead to digital eyestrain and dry eye syndrome.
Developing Eye Problems
Increased screen time can lead to dry eye syndrome which can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, red eyes, and headaches. Myopia increases the risk of developing eye diseases that cause long-term eye health problems. The refractive error can increase the risk of severe diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. If not treated, they can lead to vision loss or blindness.
Posture and Screen Time
People tend to hold digital screens closer than print materials or books, increasing the eye’s visual demand. Stress to the eye muscles responsible for eye teaming and coordination makes them less flexible to changes in focus.
Holding the material too close or reading for long without breaks increases the risk of myopia progression. Posture plays a vital role when using digital devices. Using screens while lying down increases the risk of eye problems.
When Is Screen Time Too Much?
Today, it is difficult to avoid using computers and other digital devices. They are necessary for work, school, and social activities. Most people shop online, browse the internet, watch videos, and communicate through social media.
The screen time hours vary for individuals, but experts agree the problem is worse among children. Specialists recommend screen time depending on age. Children under three should not use the devices unsupervised.
The risk of myopia involves various factors that are beyond the patient’s control, such as genes. But like exercise and a healthy diet, reducing screen time benefits eye health. It can help slow myopia's progression. Spending more time outdoors can reduce the risk of developing myopia.
For more on myopia and screen time, visit West Texas Eyecare at our Fort Stockton or Pecos, Texas, offices. Call (432) 336-3662 or (432) 445-3662 to schedule an appointment today.