Europe

Staring at screens triggering midlife eye disease in kids

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Camilla says her grandchildren 'teach her about social media'

Hours staring at screens is causing children as young as six to be diagnosed with a painful adult midlife eye condition.

Dry eye disease happens when tear ducts are unable to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes and normally occurs in people aged 50 to 60.

Symptoms include sore, red and sensitive eyes with sufferers complaining of a burning sensation similar to the effect when chopping onions.

Experts have warned leaving children watching tablets and phones for long periods of time is triggering the same painful problem, the Daily Mail reports.

It’s thought staring at screens dramatically reduces the blink rate and so leaves eyes susceptible to drying.

Optometrist and dry eye specialist Sarah Farrant said she had started seeing primary school-aged children at her practice Earlam and Christopher in Somerset.

Sarah told the Daily Mail: “When I started up my clinic 15 years ago there was not a single child who turned up with the condition.

“But in the past five or six years I’ve been seeing more and more children with dry eye. My youngest patient was six, which used to be unheard of.”

Left untreated dry eye disease can cause lasting damage to some tear-producing glands in the eyelids.

Dr Matthew Olsen, from Thea Pharmaceuticals, which creates products to help treat dry eye, said the disease has been shown to have a “huge impact” on quality of life.

He said: “We need to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our eyes amongst all age groups.”

Screen time has been found to have a number of effects on health and development for children.

In September a report published by scientists found that blue light emitted from phones and tablets at night may trigger early puberty.

One of the authors of the report, Dr Aylin Kilinic Ugurlu, from Ankara City Hospital, Turkey, said the study on rats showed device use could be a risk factor for children also.

She said: “We can’t be sure these findings would be replicated in children but these data suggest that blue light exposure could be a risk factor.”

A raft of research into childhood mobile phone, tablet and social media use has raised numerous concerns about the long term effect on mental and physical health.

Another study found primary school children are missing out on the equivalent of a night’s sleep a week with bedtimes being delayed by social media use.

DON’T MISS: Study finds children dislike eating greens in the womb 

Source: Read Full Article