Too much screen time causing ‘Digital Fatigue’

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Too much technology can make you sick and strain your eyes.

It’s called “Digital Fatigue” and it happens when you stare at your tablet, phone or computer screen for too long.

Those mostly affected are kids.

Amy Mongillo is a mother of two kids. She said her four and seven-year-old, are technology savvy.   

“My kids love to use the tablets, they ask for them all the time,” Mongillo said.

A study done by the American Optometric Association said kids are using their devices more than parents think.

Enlighten Vision + Eye Care Optometrist, Michael Reyes, said 40 percent of parents say their child uses a device for three hours a day.

“A survey actually shows that it’s closer to 80 percent of children who actually say they spend three or more hours on devices,” Reyes said.

Reyes said Digital Fatigue has many symptoms. 

“Your eyes can start to burn. We don’t think about it a lot, but when you’re on these devices you tend to not blink as much, so your eyes tend to dry out. Eyes can feel itchy and you want to rub them a lot. You can also start to induce headaches,” Reyes said.

The study also says that nearly one-third of children go a full hour without taking a visual break.

“We usually just try and limit the amount of time on the tablets and usually by doing that it helps with their eyes,” Mongillo said. said most people don’t realize some of the strongest muscles in the body are not just your biceps or abs — but your eyes.

“Muscles also play a huge part in our focusing, in our ability to focus. If you imagine you’re reading a lot your muscles are working hard to see things up close. So if you could imagine if you stay like that for too long they are going to fatigue and get tired,” Reyes said.

The website also says 60 percent of students identified as problem learners have undetected vision problems.

“It’s up to the parents to stay on top of it and look out for symptoms,” Reyes said.

Reyes said there’s a rule of thumb when limiting your child’s screen time . It’s the 20-20-20 rule.

“You want to take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and by doing so you want to look at something 20 feet away. This gives you eyes a chance to just say ahh and relax,” Reyes said.

Now that kids are back in school, experts say students will be spending even more time in front of a screen.

Reyes said your kids should have a comprehensive eye exam once a year even if your child seems fine.

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