From Screens and Kids:
Because long-term fixed distance viewing is very well known to promote nearsightedness, the pre-teen and teenage developmental precondition for myopia is being exacerbated when middle school kids are required to stare at a computer for excessive periods of time. 10 - 15-year-old children are already prone to myopia; it's the shape their eyes are taking at this stage in their physical development.
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Myopia is the most common eye problem of the teen years," says Dr. Harold P. Koller, a pediatric ophthalmologist from Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania, and clinical professor of ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "In kids who are genetically programmed to be nearsighted,” he explains, “the eyeball grows too long from front to back, usually during the growth spurt.”
USC researchers working with the National Institute of Health concluded that daily screen time has caused myopia to double among children in the U.S.. African-American and Asian children showed a higher propensity for myopia than did Caucasian children. The lead researcher is a former Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute resident.
University of Southern California: “While research shows there is a genetic component, the rapid proliferation of myopia in the matter of a few decades among Asians suggests that closeup work and use of mobile devices and screens on a daily basis, combined with a lack of proper lighting or sunlight, may be the real culprit behind these dramatic increases.”
The Vision Council: "While adults with computer-oriented jobs seem to be the prime targets of over-exposure to digital devices, one in four children use these devices more than three hours a day. This exposure, which occurs both at school and at play, poses a risk to children’s developing eyes. Accelerated myopia, or nearsightedness, is just one potentially troubling byproduct of too much screen time."
American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Encouraging children to spend more time outdoors may be a simple and cost-effective way to improve their vision as well as general health, according to several recent studies. They add to the growing evidence that spending time outdoors may lower the risk of nearsightedness in children and adolescents. Nearsightedness is more common today in the United States and many other countries than it was in the 1970s."
All About Vision: "Moderate and high myopia sometimes are associated with serious, vision-threatening side effects" such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma.”
RETINAL DAMAGE AND PREMATURE MACULAR DEGENERATION
The UV blue light emissions that damage the back of our eyes are better able to penetrate children's eyes because kids are not blinking and because a child's eye doesn't have the necessary pigmentation to protect against the blue light. So the child is literally staring into a computer with damaging blue light penetrating right to the back of his eye.
WRAL (Raleigh-Durham): Children's and teen's eyes are still developing, and the protective pigments in their eyes that is beneficial in filtering some of the harmful blue light have not fully developed yet. Children and young adults who use smartphones and tablets are at risk of potentially irreversible eye damage because of blue light emissions from digital devices. Serious problems begin to occur with your eyes when too much exposure to blue light is encountered thru the use of LED Devices.
Prevent Blindness America: "According to a recent study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens, which is a growing concern as the popularity of cell phones, computers and tablets for school reading and personal use continues to grow each year. Increasing public health data and scientific research describes the eye health effects linked to exposure to digital device light emissions, including Computer Vision Syndrome, eye strain, sleep cycle disruptions and premature retinal damage risk."
The Washington Post (January 11, 2016) "Computer, iPad and smartphone screens are thought to strain the eyes because they emit blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light, which reaches far deeper into the eye than other kinds of light and can cause effects that are cumulative."
Surgical Specialty Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania: "Continued exposure to blue light can affect the eyes in two ways. First, it may cause eye fatigue. Your eyes may feel dry, irritated and tired after hours of work on the computer or reading emails. This happens to children as well, but it may happen much more rapidly. Children can get headaches from digital eye strain, but it is easy for parents to attribute headaches to other sources. Secondly, blue light is harmful because it is the highest wavelength of visible light. The energy from blue light penetrates all the way to the back of the eye and passes through the eye’s natural filter. Adult eyes have protective pigments that filter some of the harmful wavelengths of blue light, but those pigments are not fully developed in children which leaves them susceptible to eye damage."
DIGITAL EYE STRAIN AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISCOMFORTS
Experts in children's health are quick to point out that children are not just small adults. When using digital devices, kids are often unaware of the discomfort they are experiencing and do not correct their posture or take a break when their eyes get dry or blurry. They suffer more than adults and don't do anything about it.
SIT UP STRAIGHT AND BLINK.
National Institute of Health: "Children can experience many of the same symptoms related to computer use as adults. However, some unique aspects of how children use computers may make them more susceptible than adults to the development of these problems." For instance, children don't self-adjust when they experience eye or muscle strain. They just keep working, to complete their assignments.
American Optometric Association: "Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use."
"Computer Vision Syndrome Threatens Returning Students: (Aug 13, 2007 ) The American Optometric Association (AOA) warned that children heading back to school are at risk for developing Computer Vision Syndrome, which leaves them vulnerable to problems like dry eye, eyestrain and fatigue. According to VSP Vision Care, nearly half of U.S. children spend four hours a day or more using computers or other portable electronic devices."
Princeton University: "Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most widely known repetitive strain injury (RSI), but eyestrain is the most common. If uncorrected, eyestrain can lead to general fatigue, increased myopia (nearsightedness), and a decrease in overall efficiency. Everyone is at risk for eyestrain, especially those who work at a computer for more than three hours a day."
The Chicago Tribune (January 6, 2016) Digital eye strain: Symptoms include, in order of prevalence, neck/shoulder/back pain, eye strain, headache, blurred vision and dry eyes.
The Vision Council: While more than 70 percent of American adults report their child(ren) receives more than two hours of screen time per day, nearly 25 percent are still not concerned about the impact of digital devices on their child(ren)'s developing eyes
Meanwhile, besides playing outside, the most popular activities children engage in are playing on a digital device (23.1 percent) and watching TV (20.1 percent). And American adults report their children experience the following after being exposed to two or more hours of screen time:
• Headaches (8.8 percent)
• Neck/shoulder pain (5 percent)
• Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes (9.1 percent)
• Reduced attention span (15.2 percent)
• Poor behavior (13.3 percent)
• Irritability (13.5 percent)