The technology-driven world is no longer surprising to read news that a 2-year-old girl in China "almost blinds" after playing with a mobile phone every day for a year, according to Daily Mail. Mobile devices are becoming more permanent and less regulated, but what harm does their excessive use of vision make?
Master Andres Solorjano of the Optometry program at the University Foundation in the Andean area confirms that although children have spent much more time in front of screens over the past 10 years, something that has changed in this dynamics is related to what is He faces the device: it is no longer just to do school tasks, but also to play and even to create through apps.
According to the World Health Organization, by 2018 it is estimated that there are 1300 million people living with some visual impairments and that at least 80% of cases can be avoided. Ophthalmologist Alexander Martinez, head of the Universidad del Valle Ophthalmology Program, says that diseases such as myopia may progress or occur in children with prolonged exposure to mobile devices.
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"The constant near vision makes the ciliary muscle shrink and this changes the shape of the eye in one way or another, leading to the progression or occurrence of myopia, with children being the most sensitive population," Martinez says.
The muscular muscles are responsible for the movement of the eyes; This interferes with the process of adjusting the eye so that objects that are distant or close can be clearly seen.
For this reason, a greater sense of visual fatigue occurs when, for example, a book is read compared to the contemplation of objects at a greater distance. This means that the problem is not only about cell phones or tablets, but it is related to any activity that requires a close or permanent vision.
This leads to one of the most common myths about visual illnesses, especially in children: "Blue light does not cause myopia, but it increases it if it previously existed," says Solórzano.
"The truth is that myopia is an anomaly that can be born but not caused by this light," he adds. What causes real damage is that when you use them, do not stop. "The use of mobile devices without interruption causes children's eyes to damage and also causes social damage because it makes them very introverted, withdraw, do not leave, do not share," adds Solorjano.
To prevent these problems, the American Academy of Ophthalmology proposes the 20-20-20 law, which is every 20 minutes, the child stops reading or using the screen and looks 20 feet (6 meters) in 20 seconds.
However, the recommendation is to limit the excessive use of these devices from an early age. It is even stated that the appropriate age for a child to have their own cell phone is 14 years, thus reducing the likelihood of visual problems in the future.
Another major problem with using this type of device is the habit of using mobile phones at night before falling asleep. Martinez confirms that this habit, more than generating problems at the ophthalmological level, can generate changes in the sleep cycle.
"When there is darkness, the brain prepares to sleep, but if everything is shut down and there is light shone from the screen, it confuses the brain and prevents the activation of the mechanisms that help to create a dream," he explains.
This leads to a change in the circadian rhythm, i. physical, mental and behavioral changes that respond to light and darkness, such as the fact that he falls asleep at night and is awake during the day. Changing the sleep cycle also affects hormonal secretion, eating habits and digestion, body temperature and other important body functions, so it requires special attention.
Permanent exposure to different types of screens, however, is practically inevitable. According to Dane, 52.4% of people over 5 years of age who used a computer in 2017 did this every day of the week. The difference lies in the size of the device and its use.
"People should use the devices properly, as they emit pixillates of the image, so the larger the device, the further we must be out of it," says Marilyn Libreros, an optometrist.
The alarm sign is that if the child comes too close to the TV, it is usually believed that it will cause vision defects but besides causing the problem, it is usually a consequence as it may be a visual problem like myopia that does not allows you to see well from a distance so it's closer to normal for the device. Therefore, it is recommended that you make an appointment every year.
For proper display exposure management, there are smartphones that allow the user to control the time spent in front of the device, know what the daily average is, what applications are distributed, and even the option. to set reminders to restrict the time you spend on a particular social network or on your phone in general.
Master Andres Solorjano says the most common symptoms in children who spend so much time with mobile devices are:
- Flushing of the eyes, which is not normal because it generates the flashing frequency.
- Episodes of blurred vision, especially when changing the distance of the device.
- Any activity involving high visual requirements, such as finger playing, can unconsciously lead to blinking, resulting in the drying of the eye surface and the generation of blurred vision, eye irritation, burning, along with other symptoms. This is one of the most common ophthalmological consultations. It is advisable to make active pauses, feel flicker, and, in more advanced cases, use droplets that support lubrication.