A recent survey revealed that children now spend nearly five hours a day using the likes of Facebook, watching films & TV and messaging friends.
As an optician it’s worrying that children are spending so long doing such activities as there’s a chance they could be risking their long-term eye health without knowing it.
The problem is blue light which, put simply, is part of the visible light spectrum that we use to see the world. “Good” blue light (Blue-Turquoise) is essential for children’s vision, development and well-being. “Bad” blue light (Blue-Violet) can be harmful to their developing eyes.
What many people don’t know is that blue-violet light is emitted by computers, tablets, smart phones and flat-screen TVs however, banning children from using tech is not really a practical solution and children are actually exposed to higher amounts of blue-violet light in other ways. In homes and schools, energy saving light bulbs radiate this light, while outdoors, come rain or shine, significant amounts of ultra-violet (UV) and blue light from sunlight reach ground level.
The effects of UV rays and blue-violet light are cumulative and can accelerate the development of eye disease during adult life. With an increased exposure to technology much earlier in life and children spending three times more time outside than adults we need to think about protecting their eyes now. Here are my top tips:
Diet – serve up green leafy veg like spinach, kale and broccoli
Tech – limit the amount of time spent on tablets, smartphones or watching TV and encourage them to keep their eyes as far away from the screen as possible.
Sunglasses – a pair of good quality sunglasses offers tremendous protection
Indoors – a new of prescription spectacle lens, Crizal Prevencia, will protect indoors and out. It is designed to let “good” Blue-Turquoise light in and filter out “bad” Blue-Violet light.
Optician – the best thing you can do for your eye health is go for regular eye checks with a trained professional at least every two years.
Riskometer – check your child’s exposure to blue light by using the www.thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk “Blue Light Riskometer”
Source – Andy Hepworth, Optician