How Does Computer Use Affect Children’s Vision?

Computer use by children will not go away anytime soon. In fact, chances are it will increase. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that children are doomed to eye problems resulting from looking at computer screens too much. In fact, some positives do exist. This article will explore those positives, create awareness of the potential negatives and look at howChild Using Computer to help make sure young eyes healthy.

The Possible Positives

Computers actually provide a terrific way to supplement children’s education and learning. In fact, recent research shows that computer use can increase a young child’s readiness for school. The U.S. Department of Commerce also says that computer use by school-age children benefits academic growth, increases communication skills, expands their world view and promotes creativity. So at least to some extent, computer use can actually be beneficial.

The Potential Negatives

Too much of any good thing can become a negative, and computer use by children is no exception. Excessive use of computers can lead to a greater risk of ergonomic problems as well as computer vision syndrome. In addition, many eye care practitioners agree that “prolonged computer use among children puts them at risk for progressive myopia.” In other words, too much computer use can potentially harm a child’s vision and physical health in more ways that you might realize.

And because children are, well, children, their often limited degree of self-awareness causes them to tolerate discomfort (such as those caused by struggles with vision and uncomfortable physical conditions) to the point of near exhaustion. Children are also very adaptable, which means they often do not think of changing their environment to achieve more comfort. This means they will tolerate things like blurred vision and dry eyes due to infrequent blinking for longer than is necessary and healthy.

A significant factor contributing to ergonomic issues with children stems from the fact that children often use the same computer work stations that adults use. Since children are not the same size as adults, this results in problems from improper viewing angle, difficulty reaching the keyboard and dangling feet. This can lead to headaches from eye strain as well as well as back discomfort, among other problems.

Yet another factor that can lead to vision problems for children stems from non-optimal lighting. Lighting levels for proper computer use actually need to be about half that of the lighting normally found in the classroom. Too much light can lead to eye problems caused by having to rapidly and constantly adjust to various light levels.

Protecting Children’s Eyes in a Digital Age

Fortunately, following some simple guidelines can allow children to reap the benefits of computer use without suffering from lifelong vision and other problems.

  1. Make sure children receive yearly eye examinations. Some schools still provide a basic eye examination, but children really need a comprehensive check by an ophthalmologist who can not only check for refractive correction but also for vision-related learning problems.
  2. Monitor and limit computer use. Taking a 10-minute break for every hour of screen time is the minimum along with standing & stretching periodically as well. The Mayo Clinic provides a variety of helpful tips for monitoring and limiting children’s screen time, which is most likely more than you realize.
  3. Adjust ergonomic settings for children. To reduce the chance of computer vision and ergonomic problems in children, make sure children are seated with a “neutral posture.” In addition, realize that because children are smaller than adults, adjusting things such as chair height and viewing angle is often necessary to reduce eye strain and glare.
  4. Find ways to reduce glare on the computer screen. In addition to changing screen angle, glare on a computer screen can be minimized by adjusting room lighting. In addition, avoid having windows directly visible when sitting in front of a monitor and reduce the amount of overall lighting in the room if possible.
  5. Get involved. Knowing how much screen time a child gets daily and balancing that with appropriate physical and other activities is a great start to making sure children are healthy. Additional ways to get involved include spending time on the computer with your child, knowing what sites your child is viewing, and encouraging children to interact with friends at the computer whenever possible.
  6. Know the signs of vision problems. Frequent squinting, eye rubbing and red eyes are common indications of vision problems in children. In addition, complaints of blurred vision, headaches and eye fatigue as well as avoidance of reading and computer work can indicate problems as well.

Computer use by children is here to stay with the potential problems of this usage further enhanced by video games and television. Fortunately, clear steps such as those above exist to mitigate and even eliminate in some cases, the negative impact on children’s vision and overall health. In addition, further research is encouraged that will hopefully increase the potential positives and decrease the potential negatives even more significantly.

Paving The Way To Road Worker Safety During Peak Summer Road Construction

It’s the season of hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, getting a suntan on the beach, and…sitting in traffic for hours and navigating through detours on the road. It’s that time of year again – peak road construction season. As our dedicated road work crews get our roads paved and patched as the summer sun shines down, many drivers hurry through construction sites and road workers put a focus more on getting the job done than their own personal safety. Yet, with over 20,000 workers injured in road work zones every year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, we need to pay attention to road workers, and road workers need to pay attention to safety.

Many state governments require road workers to wear Reflective Safety Vests, and for good reason – their bright green, orange, or yellow vests do a world of good in catching the eye of motorists on the road and construction vehicles backing up in the work zone. Yet, we urge you to take your safety into your own hands – or the hands of your team, and equip yourself in Reflective Safety Pants and Reflective Gloves. Sure, it’s hot as h-e-double hockey sticks out there, but when it comes down to heat versus safety, gear up in reflective safety clothing and cool down on your break in the truck with the AC on. Need a little convincing? Read on:Road Construction

  • Over 700 road worker fatalities have been recorded in the past six years.
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle is the second most common cause of road worker fatalities, preceded only by runnovers/backovers by construction vehicles.
  • Road worker fatalities account for 1.5% to 3% of all workplace fatalities each year.
  • 1.6 fatalities (including road workers and drivers) occur each day.

*Statistics courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

We’ll never know how many of the over 700 lives additional Reflective Safety Clothing could have saved, but we do know that making safety a priority – no matter how hot the conditions outside, can only help decrease the chance of an accident on the job. Whether you’re a road worker yourself, head up a road crew, have family or friends in a road construction field, or simply find yourself driving through a construction area, do your part to drive home the importance of road worker safety all year long.

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

With a national focus on eye safety and UV safety during the month of July, now is a great time to focus on and assess your approach to eye safety and UV protection. Begin by asking yourself some simple but significant questions.

Do you wear proper protection in the sun?

Does your workplace have a sufficient eye safety program?

Do you protect your eyes when working around the house?

You only have one set of eyes, so take the time now to properly protect them and prevent illness and injury.

UV Protection

UV radiation during the summer months is three times higher than in the winter, and Yes, Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned. UV radiation can increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and more. The EPA states that the best way to achieve maximum eye protection in the sun includes wearing sunglasses that block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB raysalong with a wide-brimmed hat. Contact wearers can also wear UV-blocking contacts.

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Eye Safety

More than two-million eye injuries take place in the U.S. every year. Almost half of those happen in the home or while playing sports with almost the full other half taking place in the workplace. Out of the two-million injuries each year, 90% are preventable. To reduce the chance of becoming a part of these statistics, consistently apply the following safety tips.

  1. Have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear in the house. Of course, having them and using them are two different things. Wear them for activities like yard work where flying debris is common and when cleaning with chemicals that could splash into the eye. Make sure bystanders are wearing them too (yes, that many mean having more than one pair available).
  2. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Certified eyewear exists for most sports from fishing and football to golf and cycling. Since such a large number of eye injuries occur during sports each year, the time and money spent to get the right pair at every age (that means kids too) is well worth it.
  3. Promote Eye Safety at Work. OSHA states that more than 1,000 eye injuries occur in the American workplace every day, costing more than $300,000 per year. Make sure your eye safety program at work identifies workplace hazards, makes appropriate eyewear available, provides regular training, promotes the program through visual reminders, and makes emergency treatment options readily available.
  4. Make sure children are protected too. Eye injury often occurs when children play sports, but it also happens a lot when children simply watch adults doing activities such as yard work and fireworks. Teaching children about eye safety is important, as is being a good role model by protecting your own eyes. Instructing children on basic safety measures as well as getting them protective eyewear when they want to help around the house also go a long way in preventing eye injury in children.
  5. Be prepared for an emergency. Accidents will happen, so be prepared when they do. The workplace should have a specific plan of action known to every employee. In the home, make sure an eyewash kit is available and that you know what to do in the case of eye injury. Having a plan of action can prevent injury from becoming worse or permanent.

July presents a great opportunity for focusing on eye health. The sun shines more. People go outside more and are more active. Yard work gets done. Outdoor maintenance takes place. More opportunity means more chances of injury to the eyes. Take this opportunity to assess the state of personal UV protection as well as at-home and workplace eye safety.

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