Eye Q

Technology is often a very helpful tool in our lives. We use computers, cell phones, and television daily. We know these digital devices are bright screens, but can they actually be permanently damaging our eyes?

In recent years, children have been spending copious amounts of time on the Internet and with other forms of technology. Both at home and at school, the use of technology is rising and kids are spending more and more time on digital devices. The American Optometric Association conducted a survey and found that of children between the ages of 10 and 17, 83 percent say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day. At the same time, the American Optometric Association conducted a survey of the parents of these children and only 40 percent believed their children spend that much time with digital devices. This fact concerns eye doctors as it means parents will likely not notice the warning signs of impaired vision due to technology use.

Prolonged technology use can cause digital eye strain. This can cause burning and itching in the eyes, blurred vision, headaches, loss of concentration, and fatigue. After a while neck and back pain can also occur.

I know I often experience these symptoms, even though I am not a child. To protect vision from digital eye strain, it is recommended that people should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule. This means to take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

Optometrists are also concerned about high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from everyday electronic devices such as cell phones and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, which leads to eventual loss of sight.

The issue is that parents now do not realize how much technology is incorporated into the classroom. We have computers in the classrooms, smart boards, and televisions. All of these are great educational tools; however, they start to add up with digital screen usage at home.

This made me think of this class for two reasons. One being that it shows how technologies, although helpful, actually do harm us. And secondly it shows how technologies are changing. When I was younger, the worry was that reading in dim light would hurt my eyes. Now books are becoming outdated as technologies change. You can read on your computer, nook, or tablet.

Now companies are also making technologies that adjust to your eyesight. No longer will glasses be required to read on your tablet. The screen corrects and adjusts for visual impairments. More about this technology advancement here: http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/new-display-technology-automatically-corrects-for-vision-defects-0731

In a way, this is one technology making up for another technologies errors. Either way I found the auto correcting screens to be pretty impressive and I am sure they will be popular in the future.



  1. This is really cool, I have often wondered about the effects on my eyes as I stare into a computer screen hours on end doing homework. Additionally, it makes me wonder about my eyesight. I always thought I had 20-20 vision until a nurse told me that I had poor vision at the age of 16. I still remember putting on glasses and being shocked by how much clearer everything was. I wonder if my eyes deteriorated from televisions, computers, and video games or if I was just really good at guessing letters when I was a kid.

  2. I agree with you. I did my final project and my presentation on the affects of technology on children. The main types of technologies that I focused on was computers, cellphones, television, and video games. Everyone one of these have both positive and negative impacts on children. Some of the impacts that you mentioned I talked about in my paper.

  3. It would be crazy to no longer need my glasses to use the tablet as I am right now. However, I believe the impact the screens have done so far is already drastic so it would be just slowing down the damage already been caused.

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