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How Can a Smart Device Affect Our Children’s Eyes

How Can a Smart Device Affect Our Children’s Eyes

Re: Hitting the laptops. Published in Newsday on page A2 8/31/2016

There was a recent article in Newsday discussing the use of laptop and iPad technology hitting the schools was very enlightening. Certainly without technology we are not moving forward. Nobody debates that. Left out however was the potential damage that these devices are causing our young children. This technology emits harmful High Energy Visible (HEV) light which many studies are showing may cause both ocular disease and other medical issues. Aside from the sun, technology like LED and CFL bulbs, and our large screen TVs also emit HEV light. HEV light or light in the blue spectrum, is the new hot topic among scientists, eye care professionals and the rest of the medical community. HEV is shown to be a cause of the blinding eye disease macular degeneration with long term exposure. It is also shown to cause sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and cancer. Exposure to HEV light is also related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Melatonin is the chemical in our body that is produced at night, getting the body ready for sleep. HEV light inhibits the production of melatonin leading to sleep disorders in many children and adults. Because children have larger pupils (the center part of the eyes allowing light to enter) and shorter arms, their exposure to HEV light from these devices is much higher leading to increased exposure. Children who do not sleep may not be able to concentrate in school. They tend to be more obese leading to other diseases.

I submitted a semblance of this blog to the editor suggesting that In their next article, it is important to discuss eye protection for HEV light. In the short term, reducing the amount of HEV light entering the eyes can only provide a positive impact on students. In the long term, it may help to reduce many medical issues affecting both children and adults alike. The long term effects of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is well known. Let’s not wait for the next generation to learn to protect themselves from HEV while this generation gets sick.

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Dr. Joel Kestenbaum, Optometrist

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