Digital Screens Cause Visual Consequences

by Austin Hayslip
Courtesy of A-State Department of Media

JONESBORO — “I think that we do use it in every single class, except for P.E.,” Samuel Creekmore said.

Instead of flipping the pages of a book, kids are scrolling to the next page on iPads. And that could be affecting their eyesight.

“More and more I’m seeing earlier and earlier detection of visual problems in children,” Dr. Megan Moll of Hilltop Eyecare & Optical said.

Moll said the increase in “screen time” for kids is causing some serious vision problems.

“A lot of times, it’s the increased near-point activities with the devices and increased screen time, holding things a little bit too close has shown to increase the amount of nearsightedness over time,” she said.

Mother of two Shaila Creekmore said her children had vision problems at an early age.

“Both of my boys do wear glasses. Samuel started wearing glasses in third grade; he’s now in seventh. Tyler started wearing glasses right at the beginning of third grade,” she said.

Creekmore’s children aren’t just using devices too often. Findings from VSP Vision Care suggest by the time the average American child reaches the age of 17, they’ve spent nearly six years looking at digital devices.

“Computers and devices aren’t going away; technology is excellent. It’s definitely helped a lot with schools, but some things they can do is make sure the child takes breaks — every 20 minutes do something else,” Moll said.

She also suggests using a blue-light filter for children already wearing glasses or using night mode, a setting available on the iPhone. Another excellent option: spending time outdoors.