This is a question we get from parents who are concerned that every time they see their eye doctor, their child’s eyeglass prescription changes.
Years ago we may have had some possible ideas on why eyeglass prescriptions change, but not until more recently have we have studied information to help us answer this question.
Previously it had been found that long periods of near vision activities such as computer/tablet/smartphone/laptop use tend to create an increase in nearsightedness or myopia. This has been a difficult thing to curb as most schools incorporate submitting in homework via email which means greater use of devices. This does not include the recreational use of devices such as gaming, texting or web surfing that children can do for hours on end. With this greater demand the effects were studied and it was found that a greater chance in changing eyeglass prescription occurred after 2 or more hours. It has been recommended that children should of course do their homework and the limitations should be with the recreational use and household rules/limits to be put in place.
A more recent study was able to find the type of cell that may be able to control nearsightedness in the eye. Specifically this cell occurs in the retina. The study showed that the specific cell was activated by simulating “indoor lighting.” They found it sent a signal to the brain to elongate or lengthen the eye which creates nearsightedness. A counter effect was when “outdoor lighting” was shown and the cell did not send the signal. This would make sense as one way it has been thought to counteract nearsightedness is to have kids play outdoors. With more research we may discover actual treatment options besides lifestyle changes to control nearsightedness.
If you are concerned about your child’s device use and would like to have their eyes examined please call (860) 233-2020 to schedule an appointment today.