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Back to school doesn’t mean lack of screens

WISCONSIN (WAOW) — Electronic devices with LED screens continue to have promise in the educational realm, but increased screen time can cause long-term consequences for the youth.

LED screens emit blue light, and prolonged use can lead to digital eye strain according to Amanda Hoffman, OD from Eye Clinic of Wisconsin. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye tiredness, and in some cases head aches.

In extreme cases, increased blue light intake can cause macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes loss of vision.

And exposure to blue light can even disrupt sleep.

“Studies show that it suppresses melatonin. So, melatonin tells us its night time, that it’s time to go to bed. When a child is looking at one of these devices, it’s emitting that wave length of light telling them, ‘No, its not time to go to bed; it’s time to be awake,” said Hoffman.

There are ways, however, to take short breaks to give your eyes much-needed rest when using the devices.

“American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule. So every 20 minutes, taking a 20 second break and looking 20 feet away to help reduce that stress,” said Hoffman

Hoffman recommended that a school age child spends no more than two hours a day staring at screens,  including phones, TVs and tablets.

It’s also recommended to monitor screen time on devices with tracking apps, like Apple products.

Also, consider using blue light-filtering eye glasses and screen covers.

Chase McNamara

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