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Are Video Games, iPads and Cell Phones Damaging To Children's Eyes?

Working for an Ophthalmologist who specializes in Glaucoma and Cataract Surgery, I do not see pediatric patients very often. But many of my friends  question me, knowing that I am in the Eye Care Industry.  With Technology changing and moving forward at lightning speed these days, you have to wonder if it is OK for your child to play a Nintendo DS 3D,  or as it affectionately known in our house, as "chasing little men" on the computer for hours at a time. Can it possibly be harming our children's eyesight? The answer to that question is "Not Exactly."  How's that for a definitive answer? At the current time, there are no studies showing any kind of permanent visual damage from prolonged use of electronic devices.  But - using cell phones, video games, computers, even watching television for long periods of time can cause strain, fatigue and dry eyes.  The cause of strain and fatigue comes from the fact that while engaging in these activities your eyes are focusing and moving closer together, causing the muscle to get tired and feel strained.  The dry eye, scratchy feeling comes from the fact that while you are doing any of these activities, you actually blink much less than while you are doing normal daily activities. How can a parent help prevent such kinds of eye strain and dry eye?  The first answer is easy:  Limit time spent playing video games.  Use video game and electronic use as a reward for a good grade or cleaning their room.  Try to also cut back all video games until after homework is done for the night.  If a child has been on a video game for hours before they start their homework, they may really feel the strain on their eyes when it comes time to study or read their assignments for school the next day.  Additionally, get your kids up and moving in an outdoor activity.  Doing something outside such as riding a bike or playing a sport, encourages a child to use his distance eye muscles, giving those near muscles a break. My motto has always been that everything in moderation is fine and while I realize it is not always easy to pull your children off the computers and away from the videos, they may actually thank you, not realizing how much better their eyes feel. Mary Sweetman Certified Ophthalmic Assistant ======= Hand-held computer use may not damage eyes, but there is some evidence that it causes near-sightedness, which reduces distance vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. See our previous blog post athttps://blog.visivite.com/2010/02/ipod-use-may-cause-near-sightedness/ Paul Krawitz, M.D., President VisiVite.Com

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