Can kids' devices be ruining their eyes?

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

We can remember a time in our lives when we didn't have cellphones and computers inches from our eyes, but our children’s generation has been staring at these screens since birth.

Staring into LED televisions, computers, tablets and cellphones can be dangerous.
 
"For children, especially from birth to age three, the crystal lens in their eyes are not fully developed," Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee, optometrist at Vision Optique said. "So it goes straight through, it causes a lot more damage in children's eyes than it does in adults."

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises limiting children older than 2 to a maximum of two hours a day on media devices. Children younger than 2 years old should have no exposure.

Shen Lee agrees with limiting time, but as the mother of two girls, she says there's another helpful tool that everyone should know about.
"What we eye care providers would like to add to that, when the children are on digital devices, whatever that device may be, it's important for them to wear glasses with the coating that blocks the harmful blue light," she said.
 
The new eye protection can be worn as a coating on glasses and sunglasses with or without a prescription.
 
"They can continue to do what they're going to do," Shen Lee said. "But it's important that we start telling parents (that) you can get a pair of glasses like this (and) put (them) on to block that harmful blue light."
 
Shen Lee said some shades of blue, like we see at nighttime, are beneficial because they help us sleep, but the glare from screens is at the dangerous end of the color spectrum, where she suspects the blue rays can lead to macular degeneration, the second leading cause of blindness.
 
Insurance partially covers the coating as an upgrade, like anti-glare or UV protection. Without insurance, Shen Lee estimates that it costs about $150.

Head to the Vision Optique website for more information about blue light protection.

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