Steps for childhood eye health

Sep 12 2017 | Sheena Taff

There is no doubt that we have become a society of individuals who are rarely more than a fingertip distance from our digital devices, and we are raising device dependants.

Virtually from birth our children are overexposed to digital devices. Phones are constantly being thrust in their face for photos to share on social media. Our children have a relationship and attachment to those bright, vivid screens that is commonly created before their first words leave their mouths.

More and more parents are becoming aware of the “danger” of screen time but it often is discussed in terms of physical activity level, rather than the overexposure to harmful blue light and eye strain that is directly related to near distance over focusing, caused when using digital devices. The average child 18 years and younger is focusing on a digital device for over 7 hours per day(1) while 83% of children use an electronic device for 3 or more hours per day(2).

image article-SheenaMillennials and early presbyopes are becoming aware of the side effects of digital eye strain, such as headaches, troubles focusing, dry eye and troubled sleep patterns. This is leading even non eyeglass wearers to seek solutions to ease eye strain. But why are we not considering that our children’s vulnerable eyes are experiencing the same symptoms.

Many children have not had an eye exam. 37% of parents report that their child has not had an eye exam(3); 58% of parents think their children do not NEED an eye exam(3) and 38% of parents think their child is too young to experience any vision problems. Yet 1 in 4 children has an undetected vision problem that impairs their learning(4) and 90% of children that need glasses do not have them(5).

An eye exam is a crucial part of your child's regular health exams, it is recommended by the American Optometric Association that your child receive at least 3 eye exams before the age of 6, but most doctors will recommend a yearly eye exam to ensure any changes in vision be caught and corrected early. Learning and development is directly linked to your child vision as 85%* of children's learning in their first 12 years comes through the eyes.

As an optician that specializes in fitting pediatric and children’s eyeglasses, I meet parents every day that had no idea that their child required prescription glasses, and they can often be skeptical. It is typically not until a child is fitted with corrective eyeglasses that a parent discovers the untapped potential that was left dormant due to their undetected vision problems. Parents can be proactive in protecting their children from the effects of exposure to harmful blue light by adding Crizal® Prevencia® to their eyeglasses.

Although reducing digital device exposure would seem the simplest solutions, exposure to harmful blue light is unavoidable. The largest source of harmful blue light is the sun, and once you step indoors exposure is everywhere from LED lights to TVs and tablets.

image sheena 2Crizal® Prevencia® no-glare lenses selectively filters blue light, ensuring that your eyes receive good light, while reducing your exposure to bad blue light. Crizal® Prevencia® has an E-SPF® 50 factor and is proven to deflect harmful blue light by 20%. The benefits of Crizal® Prevencia®’s blue light blocking features are partnered with Crizal’s protection from glare and reflections, durable scratch resistance and a smudge resistant, easy to clean, top coat.

A simple addition to any lens, Crizal® Prevencia® is optimized when paired with Eyezen lenses. Eyezen lenses are perfect for children, teens and presbyopes, because these lenses are designed to improve visual clarity in all you do, by offering more adaption to our lifestyle than traditional single focus lenses. When we look at digital devices we focus differently and these lenses have special features that enhance vision to help you see comfortably, regardless of device size or where you hold it. When you wear Eyezen lenses with Crizal® Prevencia® you will experience reduced eye strain and over focusing while protecting your eyes from harmful blue light without even having to think about it.

We need to protect our eyes, we only get one pair!

(1) According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day

(2) a survey conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA) reported that 83% of children aged 10 to 17 use electronic devices for 3 or more hours each day.

(3) Source is Vision Council Vision Watch Parent Child Vision Care Report, January 2016

(4) American Optometric Association website

(5) We actually ended up removing this because it's from the Essilor Vision Foundation and we think it's a global number that doesn't apply to the USA.

I share this news