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Home » News » Are We Missing Dry Eye in Children?

Are We Missing Dry Eye in Children?

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Learn all about dry eye in the classroom

When you hear about dry eye syndrome, you probably envision either a senior citizen taking off his or her glasses to rub sore eyes, or a frantic middle-aged office worker who is glued to the computer 24/7. Most likely, a picture of kids in school does not pop into your head.

However, dry eye in the classroom has become a contemporary health problem – most of which can be traced back to the increasing use of computers and smartphones amongst the youngest population groups. At EYEcenter Optometric, our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor sees many children who present with the annoying symptoms of dry eye. Learn more about how to prevent this condition from bothering your kids.

Dry eye in the classroom

In recent years, kids have been complaining about the same irritating symptoms of dry eye that older adults experience, such as:

  • Fluctuating blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Burning or stinging
  • A feeling that something is stuck in their eyes
  • Tearing

During pediatric eye exams in our Citrus Heights, California , office, it is typical for kids to tell our optometrist that these bothersome symptoms get in the way of seeing the classroom board, reading, gazing at their computer screens, or texting on their smartphone.

The link to blinking

A primary reason that dry eye in the classroom is on the rise has to do with modern methods of education and popular types of after-school recreation, which are mainly visual and involve digital screens. Classrooms are equipped with computers for learning, and once the bell rings – many kids head home to spend their afternoons gaming or texting with friends, activities which all contribute substantially to the amount of daily screen exposure.

As kids spend more time staring at screens, they spend more time concentrating without blinking – or only blinking partially, which doesn’t moisturize the eyes fully. And when the rate of blinking goes down, the rate at which tears evaporate goes up – leading directly to dry eye.

Ways to help prevent dry eye in kids

  • Encourage your child to take frequent breaks when he or she watches TV, uses a computer, or reads
  • Make sure your child avoids smoke and other irritants in the air
  • Fit your child with a pair of wraparound sunglasses to protect against the sun and wind
  • Install a humidifier in your child’s room
  • If kids wear contact lenses, they should carry around a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears for lubricating their eyes, or wear glasses when they have dry eye symptoms
  • Limit screen time; a 2016 Korean study published in the journal BMC Ophthalmology found that when kids stopped using their smartphone for about four weeks, their dry eye symptoms improved significantly

Schedule your child for regular eye exams with our Citrus Heights, California , eye doctor. The earlier dry eye syndrome is detected, the easier it can be treated with the right education and intervention.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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