Survey Reveals Parents Drastically Underestimate the Time Kids Spend on Electronic Devices

Home and classroom digital device use is up among school-age children; Dr. Inouchi recommends yearly back-to-school eye exams

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents severely underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. An AOA survey reports that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Eye doctors are concerned that this significant disparity may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs and symptoms associated with vision problems due to technology use, such as digital eye strain.

Eighty percent ofAOA_Digital_Devices_infographic children surveyed report experiencing burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time. These are all symptoms of digital eye strain, a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Additional symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.

“When parents think about their kids’ mobile consumption habits, they often don’t think about how much time they spend on devices in the classroom,” said Dr. Inouchi. “Each year when school starts we see an increase in kids complaining of symptoms synonymous with eye strain. Essentially, they’re going from being home over the summer with a minimal amount of time spent using their devices back to a classroom full of technology, and their time on devices often doubles, leading to a strain on the eyes.”

Optometrists are also growing increasingly concerned about the kinds of light everyday electronic devices give off – high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light – and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Today’s smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and even flat screen TVs all give off light in this range, as do cool-light compact fluorescent bulbs. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause blindness.

When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, taking frequent visual breaks is important. Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of children go a full hour using technology before they take a visual break instead of every 20 minutes as recommended.

Additionally, children who normally do not require the use of eyeglasses may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for intermediate distance for computer use. And children who already wear glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer screen. An eye doctor can provide recommendations for each individual patient.

Dr. Inouchi suggests the following guidelines to help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain:

  • Check the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held a safe distance away from eyes and slightly below eye level.
  •  Check for glare on the screen. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of a computer monitor. If this happens, turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen. Also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color.
  •  Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.
  •  Adjust font size. Increase the size of text on the screen of the device to make it easier on your eyes when reading.
  •  Keep blinking. To minimize the chances of developing dry eye when using a computer or digital device, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of the eye moist.

Dr. Inouchi recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. Children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, through age 18.

“Parents should know that vision screenings miss too many children who should be referred to an optometrist for an eye examination to correct vision,” added [NAME]. “Eye exams performed by an eye doctor are the only way to diagnose eye and vision diseases and disorders in children. Undiagnosed vision problems can impair learning and can cause vision loss and other issues that significantly impact a child’s quality of life.”

For additional information on children’s vision and the importance of back-to-school eye exams, or to make an appointment for your child with Dr. Inouchi for a comprehensive eye exam, visit  call 808.949.2662.

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How to Protect Your Eyes From the Negative Effects of Blue Light

Today’s gadgets and devices are placing demands on your eyes that they are not equipped to handle naturally. Our society seeks efficiency and convenience, yet the very devices that bring those benefits have a downside, especially eye fatigue. By reducing the amount of blue light that enters the eye, you will  increase your comfort level and reduce eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision and other related chronic discomfort.

Hoya Recharge anti-reflective treatment reduces blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, TVs and even energy efficient light bulbs by 10 percent compared to conventional anti-reflective treated lenses. (some blue light is important and therefore it is not necessary or desirable to block it all)

Hoya Recharge Anti Reflective Lens treatment is ideal for long lasting eye energy while using eyeryday devices.

Here is what you need to know:

  • School text books are rapidly moving to tablets
  • 72.5% of adults are unaware of the potential dangers of blue light to the eyes
  • 61% of adults experience eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices
  • 2 in 5 Millennials spends at least 9 hours per day on digital devices.

Benefits of Recharge Treatment

  • Blocks up to 10% of harmful blue light waves emitted by electronic devices.
  • Helps alleviate;e eyestrain, headaches, fatigue and blurred vision
  • Can help improve sleep patterns
  • Eliminates reflections, repels dirt and dust, and provides superior scratch resistance.
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Parents and Children Don’t See Eye-to-Eye When it Comes to Technology Use

As technology use continues to rise both at home and in classrooms, parents severely underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. A survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA) found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. This disparity is concerning to eye doctors and may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs associated with vision problems due to technology use.

digital-devices laptop, ipad and phone

Digital eye strain, a temporary condition caused by prolonged technology use, can cause children to experience burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus and blurred vision.

To protect vision from digital eye strain, children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. Additionally, the following recommendations can help prevent or reduce digital eye strain:

  •  Position computer screens four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held slightly below eye level.
  •  Prevent glare on the screen by turning your desk or computer away from windows or other light sources.
  •  Match the room lighting to the computer screen by substituting a lower-watt overhead light or using a dimmer switch.
  • Adjust font sizes to make text bigger and easier to read.
  •  Blink frequently to minimize the chances of developing dry eye.

Optometrists are also concerned about high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from everyday electronic devices and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The AOA recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. The Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act now provides children through age 18 with yearly comprehensive eye exams.

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Five Tips For a Lifetime of Healthy Vision

Here are 5 tips for a life time of healthy vision.  Honolulu eye doctors, Daniel Yamamoto, O.D. and Tracie Inouchi, O.D. suggest:

  1. Schedule Yearly Comprehensive Exams. Seeing a doctor of optometry regularly will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes.
  2. Protect against UV rays. No matter the season its important to wear sunglasses.
  3. Give your eyes a break from digital device use. Practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  4. Eat your greens. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables – particularly the leafy green variety.
  5. Practice safe wear and care of your contact lenses. Keep them clean.
Lifetime of Healthy Vision Seeing a doctor of optometry regularly will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes.

Lifetime of Healthy Vision

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