Video games, surfing the web, watching cartoons on a tablet, and playing with an app on your phone: All of these everyday activities expose kids' eyes to potentially harmful blue light. But you don't have to ditch screens altogether to protect your child, thanks to the latest innovations in eyewear. There are plenty of cheap blue light glasses for kids available, and by "cheap" we mean nowhere near as expensive as regular glasses. This is particularly nice if your child isn't great at taking care or keeping track of basically anything other than their beloved tablet.
Even if you're strict about screen time and really work hard to limit the exposure, the fact is that your kids are exposed to the blue light when you may not even realize it. All of those video chats with long distance relatives, doing research for school projects, and watching an hour of TV at night add up. The organization Prevent Blindness says that one of the primary concerns for the direct exposure to blue light is digital fatigue, which manifests as "sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing." While adults are also at risk of overexposure to blue light, a paper from the American Optometric Association indicated that children's eyes are (unsurprisingly) more susceptible, so parents should practice caution because "the long term consequences of blue light exposure in children are not well understood."
While there is still research that needs to be done on the effects of blue light exposure to the retina, the American Optometric Association warned that "cellular telephone, tablet and personal computer use before bedtime can delay sleep onset, degrade sleep quality and impair alertness the following day." Ideally, kids should limit use of these devices right before bed, but this isn't an ideal world. Since screen time before bedtime can be unavoidable, investing in some blue-light glasses for your kids isn't a bad idea. But, because there aren't any clear-cut answers to the long-term effects of exposure (and because kids tend to demolish everything), this isn't a purchase that needs to be high-end.
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