Kids & technology

SHREVEPORT, La. - There is no denying that we live in a screen-saturated world. From computers to mobile phones to tablets, we spend hours each day looking at screens. However, intense screen use can have an impact on our eye health.

Computer or smartphone use might lead to "Computer Vision Syndrome." It's a set of eye problems caused by staring at a screen for long periods of time without taking a break.

According to the American Optometrist Association, symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. Many of us may already have the syndrome and not even realize it. People who spend two or more continuous hours in front of a computer or digital media each day are most at risk for computer vision syndrome.

The syndrome is caused by two factors. The first, computer, tablet and smartphone screens are typically held close, which causes eye strain. As for the second, these screens always show pixilated images, which cause our eyes to shift in and out of focus without us even realizing it. That weakens the eye's focusing muscles causing the eyes to work hard to maintain focus. As for iPad and smartphone fans, if the screen is small, people tend to hold it even closer to their eyes.

Although these symptoms are not permanent in adults, the symptoms can cause permanent injuries to children. According to Dr. Alan Richards of Highland Pediatric Ophthalmology, children who spend more time indoors with an increased time frame for screen time are more likely to become near sighted. Furthermore, these children have an increased risk of obesity.

In a recent survey by Shire and Thrive Global, nearly one in three adults said they use screens over 10 hours a day, but 58 percent of eye care professionals (ECPs) said six or more hours of use is too much for people to spend on screens.

Ninety percent of adults said that even though using screens can impact their eyes, using them is unavoidable.

Sixty-one percent of adults said they continue using their smartphone, even if their eyes start to bother them.

More than half of adults said they would rather give up wine, chocolate, or makeup for a day than give up their smartphones!

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