Digital eye strain more common in children

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Digital eye strain is becoming more common in children, according to the American Optometric Association.

Kids are getting cell phones and tablets at a younger age and are using them more frequently during the day. The symptoms may include: dry eyes, red and irritated eyes, blurry vision and problems focusing.

"Her eyes were not the best when we realized she was having problems with her tablet but she does learn on her tablet," said Jeff Stroud.

He said he started noticing his daughter Khloe was having problems with eye strain.

"She's not suppose to use her tablet without her glasses on, and we have a limited when she can use it," Stroud said.

He said they took her to the eye doctor to get fitted for glasses.

"They think that her eyes are getting better now that she does have corrective lenses but yea she has a tough time with it," he said.

And Khloe is not alone. More kids are using digital devices at a younger age which could lead to eye problems down the road.

"Even at the age of 2 they play with the nooks and the tablets, the phones and play the game players," said Anna Ford.

She said she's worried about the health of her grandkids.

"I feel like it will have an effect on their eye sight and their ears with ear buds," Ford said.

Dr. Patrick Fowler with Elite Eye Care said digital eye strain is becoming more common in kids because they are looking at a screen for most of the day.

"I know a lot of students now either have a computer to learn from at school or at home or they're going to the tablet system which most schools are doing," he said. "When you're sitting there for a long period of time the muscles get tired, the eyes get tired, the eyes get dry."

Fowler said eye strain can cause headaches, blurred vision and uncomfortable tired eyes.

"With some children we do have to go with straight reading glasses," he said. "I do expect them to grow out of it as they get older but it's kind of a crutch but to help them reduce some of the strain on their eyes."

Fowler said parents should make sure their kids are holding the device at a safe distance away from their face.

"We need to take breaks," Fowler said. "Our eyes are not designed to stay on a computer and up close."

Fowler suggests taking a break every 20 minutes and making sure there is good lighting.  He also said he's noticed an increase in children needing glasses to take the pressure off their eyes.

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