Children’s Myopia (Nearsightedness) Risks linked To Smartphone Use
Unlike in the past where children enjoyed outdoor games and activities, children currently stay locked starting at smartphones. While they enjoy watching videos and playing games, this habit leads to negative effects on their vision. It gets worse when an excessive obsession with using these devices sets in.
The use of smartphones has led to a high prevalence of Myopia (nearsightedness) among kids. This prevalence is still rising and according to eye experts, Myopia is the leading cause of vision impairment among children. Several studies and research indicate that technological advancements are the main cause of Myopia pandemic, especially among children.
How Does The Use Of Smartphones Cause Myopia Among Children?
If you pay very close attention to your kids as they play games or watch videos, you will realize how close they hold smartphones to their eyes. As the videos or games gets more interesting, they hold it closer to the eyes so that they can focus more on the screen.
Since the video game screens and images flicker several times in a second, your child’s eyes will constantly shift focus. In turn, this strains the eyes by forcing them to focus closely on the screen. This training for long hours eventually leads to Myopia. Why is this kind of focus different from reading books and other materials? Well, when your child is reading or viewing surfaces like printed materials, the eyes have a clear and defined focus distance which does not change constantly.
Smartphones also emit blue light which has high energy compared to the sunlight. This energy has been linked to myopic macular degeneration which is a major cause of vision loss. In addition, the light inside the house is dimmer than outdoor light. Since children largely use these smartphones indoor, they strain to focus and end up being nearsighted.
How Do I know My child’s Smartphone Overuse Has Resulted In Myopia?
The greatest risk of your child staying locked on the digital screens all day is not only Myopia but also serious eye conditions caused by Myopia. It is the root cause of vision impairment that can lead to complete blindness. That is why every parent should be keen on the child’s eyesight and watch for any unusual behavior. Let us have a detailed look at the symptoms you should watch out for, shall we?
Long use of smartphones results in blurry vision especially when trying to focus on distant objects. If your child remains unaware of objects unless it is very close to the eyes, it means he or she has a blurry vision. This is normally an indication of Myopia.
If your child loves playing video games or watching videos on smartphones and they constantly complain about headaches, chances are very high that your child has Myopia. Myopia leads to serious eye strain which in turn results in headaches.
Squinting while watching Television
A child who has Myopia often tilts his or her head trying to focus while watching. Also, you will notice that the child squints because they are straining to focus. If you notice this kind of behavior from your child, it is good to visit an eye doctor for examination.
Need to stay close to objects
Young children cannot explain how they feel but they often express. If your child moves closer to TV or moves to the front of the classroom at school, it means they are nearsighted. The blackboard and TV appear blurry when such a child sits at a distance.
Teary eyes are very easy to notice. This may be a result of excessive eye strain.
How Do I Mitigate The Risks Of Myopia caused By Using a Smartphone?
Control of Myopia is not only a trending topic among parents but also governments, institutions, and organizations. The fear of having an entire generation of Myopic people in the near future due to the overuse of smartphones cannot be ignored. Here is what you can do as a parent to prevent your child from developing this eye condition:
- Limit the time your child spends on smartphone playing games and watching videos
- Encourage your child to play outdoor games. Help them discover and develop other exciting activities to substitute video games
- Ensure your child takes frequent breaks while using smartphones
- Teach your child to hold the smartphone at an appropriate distance from the eyes
- Frequently take your child for eye exams
- Check the contrast and brightness settings of the smartphone that your child is using frequently
While smartphones keep our children busy and entertained, it is important to limit the time they utilize these devices. It is also important to teach your kids how smartphones harm their vision. Ensure they know how to hold them properly and that they do not stay glued on the screens for long hours. Finally, it is important to visit the eye specialist regularly so that your child’s eyesight can be examined. Early diagnosis of Myopia and other eye problems will see you prevent vision loss.