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Screen Time Q&A with Dr. Brian Cho

Dr. Brian Cho 325x217As a parent, what is the effect of screen time on my child’s eye health and vision?

Computer Vision Syndrome (or digital eye strain) can cause focusing issues and irritation from increasing dryness. Blue light emanating from the screen can cause additional issues. Whenever we are looking at something up close, the eye muscles are working and screen time causes the straining of those muscles, leading to headaches and pressure pain. It also causes dryness in the eyes because whenever we are staring at a screen, we don’t blink as much, leading to increased tear evaporation. Blue light emanates from all electronic screens, which decreases melatonin levels, leading to sleep disruption. Some studies have shown it can also impact the back of the eye (the macula), further contributing to macular degeneration.


Can my child’s eyesight be affected by distance to the screen, time spent watching the screen, etc.?

In 2007, with the introduction of smartphones, the incidence of myopia/nearsightedness and of people needing to wear corrective lenses has increased dramatically. So there does appear to be a correlation. It is likely that both duration of screen time and distance from the screen both can affect our vision. Ideally, screens should be at least 20 inches from the face. Some studies have shown that it is beneficial to have the screen 4-5 inches below eye level. It also helps to take breaks after every 20-30 minutes of screen time.


What treatments does Bellport Perspective Eye Care offer for those suffering from dry eye disease, perhaps caused or aggravated by excessive screen time?

We offer artificial tears and other drops, prescribed medications like Restasis and CEQUA, biologics (medications found in nature), and Zocular hygienic products for eyelids (cleaning the eyelids causes increased lipid production so that our tears do not dry out as much).