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Children using cell phones can cause eye problems: Study

ISLAMABAD (APP):Excessive use of mobile devices can cause eye problems like myopia (short-sightedness) and amblyopia (lazy eye) in young children.
Ophthalmologist revealed that growing use of mobile phones among children, especially during the night has led to a significant rise in eye problems at an early age.
With young children increasingly playing for hours on end with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, this might grow to be a problem for them as well.“Playing with handheld devices constitute near work, which has been shown to be associated with myopia (commonly known as short-sightedness),” says a renowned ophthalmologist, Health news reported.
For children, this is especially worrisome as the earlier a child develops short-sightedness, the higher the risk of severe myopia in later life. Hence, parents are encouraged to send their children for eye screening once yearly. If a child is too young for screening, parents should take note of symptoms and behaviours such as:Frequent rubbing of the eyes,Tearing ,Excessive blinking,Tilting of the head or squinting when reading or watching TV, Headaches from eye strain,Complaining of eye tiredness
Doctors added.
“Besides myopia, there are also less common eye conditions that may arise after a prolonged period of near work. These include convergence or accommodating insufficiency, which means the reduced ability of the eyes to turn towards each other or to focus properly on objects.
This may cause symptoms like eye fatigue or even double vision.”Moderate to high myopia, brought about by frequent near work or excessive use of mobile devices, can also cause “lazy eye”, a condition also known as amblyopia. This deteriorates the child’s vision even if there’s no structural problem with the eye.
“Amblyopia arises during early childhood when one or both eyes send blurry images to the brain. If the brain does not receive clear images during the period of visual development, it then learns to only see blurry,” explained by doctors.
Fortunately, amblyopia is completely treatable if the condition is diagnosed early – preferably before the age of six. “If amblyopia is detected late, the child’s vision may not improve even when spectacles are prescribed, or may even be permanently impaired,” Dr Lim warns.As a parent, barring your child from using mobile devices may not be the best approach. After all, your child will be exposed to these devices sooner or later.
Instead, you should consider setting limits for your child when it comes to the use of such devices. This can be done by: Moderating near work, e.g. playtime on mobile devices, to about 30 minutes per session, Ensuring that your child takes frequent periods of eye rest when using such devices
Encouraging your child to also engage in outdoor activities.