Thursday February 21, 2019
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Increased Screen Time for Kids Can Cause Permanent Eye Damage

“When you concentrate very hard on a task such as on a computer screen, you blink less, and also instead of fully blinking you partially blink and so what’s happening is damage is being done to the front of the eye.”

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The blue light emitting from these digital devices can affect your eye's retina
The blue light emitting from these digital devices can affect your eye's retina . Flickr

Kids are addicted to cell phones, tablets ,anything with an electronic screen. The problem is, it’s bad for their eyes.

With the popularity of video games and online activities, dry eye is becoming increasingly prevalent in children and teens glued to their screens. The condition can cause permanent eye damage.

But, now there’s an app for that.

Optometrist explains

Professor James Wolffsohn is an optometrist at Aston University in Britain who has noticed something troubling.

“What we’re beginning to see is now with the use particularly of screens, digital screens, tablets, smartphones that even children are reporting dry eyes,” he said.

Tears contain oil, Wolffsohn explained, and your eyes should always have a thin layer of tears.

“The tear film on the front of your eye is there all the time not just when you cry. It’s less than the tenth of the thickness of a human hair, but without it you probably wouldn’t see at all,” he said.

Eyes Should Always Have a Thin Layer of Tears. Pixabay
Eyes Should Always Have a Thin Layer of Tears. Pixabay

That’s because, without tears, your eyes would dry up, likely get infected or scratched. With kids spending more and more time in front of a screen, many are at risk for developing dry eyes.

“When you concentrate very hard on a task such as on a computer screen, you blink less, and also instead of fully blinking you partially blink and so what’s happening is damage is being done to the front of the eye,” Wolffsohn said.

When tears aren’t being produced, they evaporate and leave behind their salty content, which can do further damage to your eyes.

The app

But now, there’s a smartphone app that can diagnose dry eyes. People tested it at a demonstration in London. The app asks some simple questions and tests how long you can comfortably stare at a screen without blinking.

Wolffsohn notes the irony of using an app on the very device that is causing the problem.

“We’re actually using the technology that potentially could cause problems, if you use a lot of it, to actually help us with the diagnosis,” he said.

Also Read: Headache Due to Spending Long Hours in Front of Computer? Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes!

Doctors say even if you don’t have the app, you can protect your eyes by simply remembering to blink when you’re in front of a screen. And you should remind your kids to do the same. (VOA)

Next Story

Immersive VR Can Help Kids Overcome Autism Phobias

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults

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Virtual Reality
A hospital patient uses virtual reality treatment for pain in this undated photo. VOA

Exposing children and adults with autism to immersive virtual reality (VR) can help alleviate their fears and phobias, say researchers.

A team from the UK’s Newcastle University developed ‘Blue Room’, a virtual environment, which requires no goggles. Here a person can comfortably investigate and navigate through various scenarios working with a therapist using iPad controls but remain in full control of the situation.

“For many children and their families, anxiety can rule their lives as they try to avoid the situations which can trigger their child’s fears or phobias,” said Professor Jeremy Parr from Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience.

“To be able to offer a treatment that works, and see the children do so well, offers hope to families who have very few treatment options for anxiety available to them,” Parr added.

Autism can affect a child’s learning and development, often resulting in impaired social and communication skills and many also have fears or phobias which can be very distressing but are often overlooked.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

For the study, detailed in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the team involved a small group of children with autism aged 8-14 years. Half received treatment in the ‘Blue Room’ straight away and half acted as a control group, receiving delayed treatment six months later.

“People with autism can find imagining a scene difficult which is why the ‘Blue Room’ is so well-received. We are providing the feared situation in a controlled way through VR and we are sitting alongside them to help them learn how to manage their fears,” explained Morag Maskey, researcher from Newcastle.

Also Read- AI Helping Differently-abled to Become More Independent: Microsoft

The results showed that overall 40 per cent of children treated showed improvement at two weeks, and 45 per cent at six months.

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults. (IANS)