A SOBERING SIGHT
Following the Ministry of Education’s decision to allow electronic devices in school for learning, we examine the link between gadgets and eye strain.
To keep up with current technological developments across the world, gadgets could be officially allowed in Malaysians schools as early as the next school term. While this decision by the Ministry of Education is definitely a step forward in preparing our kids for the future, it may not be such good news for their eye health.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Digital eye strain (DES) describes a group of eye-related problems due to using digital devices for more than two hours a day. Not very long at all, if you add up the time kids already spend on their gadgets outside of school. In a survey carried out by Canada’s Alberta Association of Optometrists, primary school children in Alberta often looked at screens for an average of four hours per day, with that number doubling for teenage children. It’s not hard to imagine these figures being similar here in Malaysia, if the number of young ones hooked to their gadgets at home and in public is anything to go by.
The association says the highenergy visible (HEV) light that screens emit can penetrate deep into the eye, causing damage. Staring at a screen can also slow down your child’s rate of blinking – causing their eyes to have less exposure to a protective layer of liquid that prevents dry eyes. HEV light reaches far deeper into the eye than other kinds of light and has a cumulative effect on vision. Studies have also shown that although it boosts attention and mood in the day, it can interrupt sleep patterns and plays a role in increasing the risk for chronic diseases.