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Help Protect Your Child’s Vision From Blue Light

Whether your child is learning, playing games, watching videos, or reading on their digital device, they may be harming their vision. By spending so much time on their digital devices the blue light emanating from the screen can be affecting not only their eyes with digital eye strain but their sleep as well.

As technology transforms the way we live, those who will be impacted the most are our children. Parents and professionals are concerned with the impact these devices currently have on our children, and they want to find the best ways to manage the time spent using them in order to keep kids healthy and strong.

What is Blue Light?

Every color of visible light has a different wavelength and energy level. Colors like red, orange, and yellow have longer wavelengths and carry less energy than colors like blue and purple.

Because blue light carries higher energy, it can easily reach the retina at the back of the eye. Although some of the eye’s structures filter out harmful rays like ultraviolet light, they allow blue light to penetrate.

The sun, digital screens, LED and fluorescent lighting all emit blue light.

Too Much Screen Time Can Lead to Vision Issues

Blue light has more energy and scatters more freely than other light making it difficult to focus on it. As the scattered blue light rays enter the eye, they create visual “noise” that is believed to be partly responsible for digital eye strain symptoms such as watery eyes, headache, blurry vision, and dry eyes. The more time spent staring at screens, the higher the chance of developing eye strain symptoms.

Gazing at the same distance for an extended time can cause the eyes focus to spasm, which causes blurred vision. Another possible symptom that may occur when concentrating on a screen for an extended period of time is eye fatigue which can cause concentration problems and headaches.

Tips on Limiting Screen Time in Young Children

Encouraging children to engage in other activities is important to their health and development. Establishing positive media viewing habits will keep their visual, mental and physical health in check.

  • Avoid digital media use in infants under 18 to 24 months of age.
  • If you want to introduce digital media to your 18-24 month old, choose high-quality programming and make sure to use the media together with your child. Solo media use at this age should be avoided.
  • For children 2 to 5 years of age, limit screen use to 1 hour of high-quality programming per day.
  • 20-20-20 rule: make sure your child takes a 20-second break every 20 minutes and views something 20 feet away.
  • Avoid fast-paced programs and any violent content.
  • Make sure to turn off screens (including television) and other devices when not in use.
  • Refrain from using media as the primary method of calming your child. Although there are cases when media is a useful soothing strategy, doing so regularly can lead to problems with setting limits and can hinder a child’s emotional regulation.
  • Make sure that one hour before bedtime, your child doesn’t use his or her digital device.

While your child uses a digital device, there are ways to protect their eyes from blue light.

  • Purchase glasses with lenses that filter out the amount of blue light that enters the eyes from computers, e-tablets and smartphone screens.
  • Get anti-reflective coating for the eyeglass lenses, as it blocks blue light.
  • Purchase glasses with photochromic lenses. These are sun-sensitive lenses that block some blue light indoors and automatically block additional blue light from the sun.

Technology is the present and the future. By following these tips and measures, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your tech-savvy child seeing clearly and feeling healthy for many years to come.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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6 Facts About Blue Light & How It Affects Your Eyes

Ever think about light and what it’s made of? All types of visible light, be it from your computer screen, ceiling lamp or the sun, emit rays that have various effects. Most people are aware of the dangers of UV rays from sun exposure and the importance of sunscreen and sunglasses. But what many aren’t aware of is that light shines with a range of different coloured rays that have different amounts of energy, and some pose more of a threat than others. In this article, our Toronto eye doctor discusses blue light.

Basics of Blue Light

In brief, light rays have different wavelengths, and the longer the wavelength, the less energy it has. Conversely, the shorter the wavelength – the higher the amount of energy. Blue light is one of the shortest, highest energy wavelengths of visible light.

What else is essential to know about blue light? Here are six primary points:

  1. You can’t escape blue light; it’s everywhere.

The sun is the main source of natural blue light, but there are numerous artificial sources of blue light, such as LED and fluorescent light, flat-screen TVs, computer monitors, and the screens of all digital devices. While the amount of blue light emitted by these devices is small in comparison to what’s emitted by the sun, the amount of time people spend looking at these devices has raised a red flag for eye care professionals around the world. Eye doctors are concerned about the long-term effects of artificial blue light.

2. Blue light can endanger your future eye health.

Studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can damage retinal cells, leading to changes that increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Over time, macular degeneration can lead to vision loss.

3. Blue light glasses help your eyes block blue light.

While the human eye has some built-in protection against UV radiation reaching the retina at the back of your eyeball, it doesn’t block blue light well. Almost all visible blue light can pass smoothly through your cornea and lens, getting all the way to the retina. Blue light glasses offer an efficient way to prevent overexposure to this radiation. We offer specialty eyewear including blue light glasses at our Toronto optical shop; stop by anytime to learn more.

4. Blue light can cause digital eye strain.

Blue light cannot be focused as easily as other visible light, because it scatters more readily. When you gaze at a digital screen, you subject your eyes to a lot of unfocused visual “noise,” which reduces visual contrast, and can cause the uncomfortable symptoms of digital eye strain. Blue light glasses (with yellow-tinted lenses) can prevent this disruptive condition and enhance comfort when you’re using a computer or device for long periods.

5. Cataract surgery can increase the risk of blue light on your eyes.

When the natural lens of your eye is removed during cataract surgery, it will be replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). For optimal eye health, this artificial lens should provide blue light protection. Be sure to discuss the type of IOL that your eye surgeon will use. After surgery, you may benefit from wearing blue light glasses crafted with a special filter in the lenses – especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer.

6. Blue light can also be good for you.

As we discuss all the ways to limit your exposure to blue light, our Toronto eye doctor points out that you also need blue light for good health! Scientific studies have shown it boosts moods, energizes your body, and helps with memory and cognitive function. It also plays a crucial role in regulating circadian rhythm, which is your wake-sleep cycle. On that note, while normal exposure to blue light during the daytime helps you to fall asleep at night, too much blue light late at night will prevent you from slipping peacefully into sleep.

Don’t let blue light disturb your visual comfort during the day or get in the way of a good night’s sleep! Visit our Toronto eye care centre to learn how blue light glasses can help.

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Blink more!

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others.

From all of us at Corktown Eyecare at Toronto, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Toronto eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Corktown Eyecare wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Toronto optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Toronto eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Toronto eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Toronto optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Corktown Eyecare

When you and your child meet with our Toronto eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.