More adults and kids report eye problems due to digital devices - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

More adults and kids report eye problems due to digital devices

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Notice more squinting in your kids or spouse? Heartland eye doctors say the smart phones, iPads and laptops that now consume our lives could be doing real damage.

There's a variety of issues, but the majority of the problems end up diagnosed as near sighted cases.

According to a new study, 95 percent of you spent two or more hours on your digital device a day and look at them an average of 100. 

Your kids spent even more time, up to three hours.

The problem is blamed on the blue light emitted, and that study found many of us sit way to close. 

We found one young near sighted patient at Leet Eye Care in Cape Girardeau. 

"I've had glasses since third grade," said sixth grade Jackson student Lexi Tucker. "My eyes just keep getting worse. Sometimes when I get my prescription on my new glasses it's easier and then it just gets worse. When I sit at the back of the class I squint."  

She said she knows all the time she spends on a digital device probably doesn't help.

"I spend a lot of time on electronics like as soon as I get home from school until bed," said Lexi. "Probably half the day."  

Her mom said since it's both for learning and fun it's hard to stay away from it when the family uses the laptops or phones for school work, reading and to communicate. 

"She's a great girl, she loves to read and she reads all the time," said Brandi Tucker. "She reads on her laptop she reads on her phone its's a catch 22. I don't want to take that away from her I don't have a whole library in my house of books. She has access to hundreds online." 

Dr. Ryne Wood said blue light from the screens could be contributing to Lexi's problems and many adults and kids hold the devices closer than our eyes were designed for.  

"The blue light not only causing near sightedness but also can be damaging to the retina," said Dr. Wood.  

This time, Dr. Wood found Lexi's vision is slightly worse. 

"In the teenage years that's when we start to see near sightedness occur and in her case it really took off and it's not just kids, adults are at risk too," Dr. Wood said. 

According to the Vision Council, 61 percent of Americans are dealing with eye strain problems. 

One in 4 children spend more than three hours a night staring too closely at a laptop or smart phone. 

Meanwhile one third of adults say they spend about nine hours a day staring at a screen. 

"We suggest taking a break or walking away for a little while because the computers are hard to avoid," said Dr. Wood. 

Dr. Wood said taking breaks or looking away for a few minutes can help.  There's also new technology in lenses called anti-fatigue and other that block out glare.

It's not just the amount of time you spend in front of the screen. The problems can also be pointed to the size of the font, your posture, computer set-up, the amount of blue light emitted. 

Meanwhile doctors also have another warning. While they haven't seen any problems, optometrists say they see more women coming in with tattooed eyeliner or false eyelashes. 

Either case, if not applied properly or up to professional standards, can lead to tears in your cornea and impaired vision as well as infection.  The key? Consult a professional you trust or have someone licensed apply the liner or lashes. Either way, make sure to properly clean your eyes before, during and after use. 

"Hygiene is key," said Dr. Laura Evans of Leet Eye Care. You have to properly clean your eyes especially if you wear contacts and carefully apply the glue. It's best to consult a professional. The glue combined with the lashes can quickly cause a tear. The same goes if you decide on permanent make-up. Check out the artist's credentials before you commit." 

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