By: April Carson
An increase in time spent on screens has led even young children to suffer from an excruciating eye condition that typically only affects adults, according to experts.
While so-called "computer vision syndrome" has long been recognised among office workers who spend their days staring at screens, a new study has found that even children as young as six are being diagnosed with the condition.
When not enough tears are produced to lubricate the eyes, dry eye disease occurs. Dry eye is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears, or the tears produced are of poor quality. This can cause irritation, redness and inflammation, as well as blurred vision. A majority of people affected by this disease fall in the age range of 50 to 60 years old. If left untreated, it can lead to excruciating symptoms like gritty and sore eyes that are also red and sensitive.
The burning feeling caused by AS can be continual and compared to the onion-chopping experience by patients.
According to Sarah Farrant, an optometrist and dry eye specialist at Earlam and Christopher in Somerset, she has begun seeing more primary-aged children with the condition. She stated that screen time is partially to blame as looking at screens decreases blink rate.
"Dry eye is a very common condition, particularly in women over the age of 50," she said. "But I am seeing more and more children with the condition. My youngest patient was 6 years old."
"It is partly due to increased screen time but also due to our modern world in general. We are all using computers more, we live in air-conditioned environments and we have more pollution. All of these things can lead to dry eye."
Andrea Thau, O.D., a clinical spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association said that an increase in younger children using make-up could also be fuelling the increase in eye issues. If left untreated, some of these conditions can cause irreversible damage to tear-producing glands in the eyelids.
"This is a real problem, and parents need to be aware of it," says Dr. Thau. "If your child is having symptoms like chronic redness, tearing, itchiness or light sensitivity, you should take them to an eye doctor."
Dr Matthew Olsen, from Thea Pharmaceuticals says that dry eye not only decreases quality of life significantly but also often goes undiagnosed. He urges people of all ages to get their eyes checked regularly in order to catch the condition early.
"Dry eye is a complex and under-diagnosed disease, which if left untreated can lead to serious consequences," he said.
"It's important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly, so that any early signs or changes in your eyes can be detected and managed appropriately."
Too much screentime has also been linked to increased risk of myopia, or short-sightedness.
"There is growing evidence that too much screen time can lead to myopia, which is a risk factor for more serious eye conditions later in life," said Olsen.
"So it's important to make sure that kids have regular eye check-ups, and that they're using good lighting and taking regular breaks when they are using screens."
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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