Is Technology to Blame for the Rise in Dry Eyes among Children?

eye care for kidsOver the past fifty years, we have seen an enormous shift in the way we conduct our daily lives. Picking produce from our own garden? Is that even possible? Cooking rice over the stove? Why, when you could pop it in the microwave. A few decades ago, there was nothing like a One-Minute mug cake, and yet this is a common treat for thousands of folks today, thanks to the microwave. Technology has changed the way we do just about everything, from brushing our teeth to communicating with others. One of the most significant developments has been the Smartphone. While amazing on some levels, this particular device is also now linked to more than a couple of dangers.

What your (or your Child’s) Smartphone could be doing
Many parents worry about giving their child a Smartphone at too-young of an age. When is the right time, and how should this be managed? Is it even necessary for a child to have a phone? Judging by the number who do, millions of parents answer “yes.” Of course there are safety points to having access to a phone at all times. However, by and large, these devices are used for games, pictures, and social media. According to one study, this could be having a detrimental impact on children’s eyes (and probably yours, too!).

A group of researchers in Korea conducted a study of 288 school-aged children. A brief exam on each participant landed each child into a particular category: dry eyes, moist eyes, or normal eye surface. Once categorized, the participants then filled out a questionnaire outlining their use of different technologies, ranging from television to Smartphones. They also estimated how much screen time each device got.

Researchers measured a 20% higher instance of dry eyes in children who used a Smartphone on a regular basis versus those in the control group (moist eyes). The more time a child spent in front of the screen, the more noticeable the symptoms of dry eye disease. An interesting point in this study was that children who used a computer or watched television had no increase in dry eye risk.

Dry eye can become a chronic condition, but treatment is available. To learn more, schedule a visit with us.

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