“Imagine it’s 2038 and you received a call from your kid who inform you that, at the young age of 32, he’s going blind due to macular degeneration.”
Above opening quote may sound dramatic and exaggerate. However from from a recent article on GoodMenProject.com, it’s still very possible. Macular degeneration is traditionally a disease that affects the middle-aged and elderly. It is not a disease that hits young, vibrant people in the midst of their careers, just starting a family, and settling into their first home. As our kids grow, their eyes start to develop until they reach their late-teens. This means that their eyes are more susceptible to damage. Blue light can travel right passed the cornea and directly hit the retina on kids’ eyes easier than fully developed of an adult. More research come out showing just how digitally wired we are now and getting earlier than ever, this increased exposure to blue light is leading to multiple, long-term issues including macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for adults over 50.
As a parents, we should reflect on how often do we let our kids stare at a phone, tablet, or computer? When was the last time you saw them not glued to a screen? It is getting common for kids nowadays that turn to a blue light-emitting devices for entertainment, education, or just simply to be kept occupied and distracted. Noisy and crying kids at the dining room table when family’s in town is irritating. However Super Mario Run or Youtube can solve the problem! Right?
As noted in the article, a Nielsen study done way back in 2012 found that over 70% of kids under the age of 12 are regularly using tablets for gaming and learning. With how advanced and accessible technology has become in the past 5 years, we’re sure that number is getting closer and closer to 80% by now. What’s more, the Journal of Pediatrics found:
- 20% of one-year-olds own a tablet
- 28% of two-year-olds can navigate a digital device without help
- 28% of parents say they use a digital device to put their kids to sleep
We know that blue light is terrible. It causes you to insomnia, may cause your metabolism to decrease, and damages retinal tissue in your eye. Since we know how harmful harsh blue light is, why are we letting our kids exposed to blue light and causing destruction to their eyes. If getting your kids’ eyes off screens and staring at something outdoors is too difficult, then it’s recommended that you protect them as much as possible. Most devices have a blue light-manipulating app or setting. This is a good start, but they don't go far enough. Preventive measures such as taking breaks, the 20-20-20 rule, and blinking more are also good habits to form, but down the road, we need something to shield their eyes from blue light and that is the most ideal step to take.