As parents, we spend a large amount of time keeping our kids safe and healthy, but in the digital age that our kids are growing up in, there is a new threat to their eyes – blue light.
Blue light is a particularly intense light wave released naturally by the sun, and unnaturally by electrical devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
Blue light from the sun helps our body clocks know when it is time to sleep and helps keep healthy sleep patterns. It is important for colour perception, clarity and vision sharpness, among other things. Because blue light penetrates all the way to the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eye) it is important to be careful how much blue light your kids are exposed to each day. Too much exposure can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This can cause changes that are similar to those of macular degeneration, which if not caught early enough, can lead to permanent vision loss.
Children are at particular risk for eyestrain due to their increased use of digital devices. Until the age of 10 years, children’s eyes are not fully developed. The crystalline lens and cornea are still largely transparent and overexposed to light, so too much exposure to blue light can be harmful and cause future eye damage.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children 2 to 5 years old should be limited to less than an hour a day of screen time. For children ages 6 and older, there should be consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and is should not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
But as busy parents ourselves, we realise that there are days when this is achievable, and there are days when it may not be.
In fact, studies suggest that 60% of kids spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device.
So How Can You Help Your Kids Stay Safe?
A recent study*showed that wearing a lens treated with a blue-light filter coating helped reduce symptoms of eyestrain by half during prolonged computer exposure. 2.42 symptoms before versus 1.47 symptoms with blue coating (P=0.04).
Blue light filter glasses from Shadez filter out 30% of blue light – filtering out the harmful portion of blue light and only allowing the good portion of blue light to pass through.
Some simple ways to take care of your children’s eyes when using digital devices:
- Limit the amount of time your children spend on devices each day
- Show them how to keep the distance between the screen and their eyes to at least 40-60cm.
- Be aware of the brightness of the screen, making sure it is just bright enough for the environment.
- Do not let your kids use devices two hours before bedtime, as it can interfere with the body clock, preventing children from getting to sleep easily.
- Where possible wear protective blue light filtering glasses to significantly reduce the effects of blue light.
*Study by école d’optométrie from the University of Montreal
PC Revolution are the exclusive New Zealand and austral Stockist of Shadez Blue Light Filter Glasses. PCR is owned by husband and wife team Eddie and Nancy, and it also manufactures tablets for schools and businesses. They came across these blue light glasses on a recent business trip and are passionate about getting the word out on how to protect your children’s eyes from the damaging effects of too much blue light.