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Dry Eye Disease

Understanding Dry Eye Disease in the Digital Age

Has your child ever complained about his eyes being itchy, dry, or irritated? It may seem just a minor inconvenience, but it can drastically change your child’s life. These symptoms are signs of a disturbing condition called dry eye syndrome or DES. The most concerning thing about it is how highly exposed to DES the youth are. And that is no wonder, today’s digital-first world has created a unique condition where more and more aspects of our life are unthinkable without electronic devices and the internet. The same is true for our little ones. Once they learn how to hold a phone in their hands the process is started.

Here are some facts about the DES which you as a parent should know:

  •       Dry eye syndrome is on its rise among children and young adults. It is linked to an increase of average screen time.
  •       Prolonged exposure to screen reduces blinking rate and leads to decreased eye lubrication. And it is one of the main causes of DES

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a condition caused by a variety of different factors. All of them play a role, so it is right to say that DES results from a combination of biological and environmental factors. Even such seemingly irrelevant things as air quality and humidity can be crucial. 

So, what is the clinical pattern of DES?

  •       Biological factors: age (more common among young adults), gender (women are more exposed to this condition), and overall eye health.
  •       Environmental factors: humidity (its low level increases the risk), pollution, and quality air conditioning.
  •       Screen time. Excessive digital strain leads to reduced blinking rate and eye irritation.

Some of these factors are more important than others and have more impact on the chances of getting DES.

Factor Impact Level
Screen Time High
Air Quality Medium
Room Humidity Medium
Health Condition              Low

Signs and Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain often follows extended screen time. Light from mobile and laptop screens is overstimulating for human eyes to the extent that people forget to blink and moisturize their eyes. Lack of lubrication is not something subtle and soon becomes painfully apparent. Time always matters. The earlier you suspect this condition and take action, the better. Here are some red flags you should pay attention to:

  •       Eye discomfort. It can be itching, scratching, or burning sensations.
  •       Irritation. Red eyes are definitely not a good sign.
  •       Blurred vision. You may notice that your sight is not as sharp as usual.
  •       Headaches and fatigue. The complex of already mentioned symptoms does not leave a chance for a proper rest.

The symptoms tend to get worse after a screen session. They can destroy not only your productivity and focus but also your sight. Remember, time always matters. The earlier you suspect this condition and take action, the better.

Preventing Dry Eye Syndrome

By self-assessment, you can quickly identify signs of DES, but what is the next step? You should know that this condition is reversible. However, preventing digital eye strain is easier than curing it. There is a list of measures that can significantly reduce the risk of development of DES. Like every effective treatment, it is complex and provides changes in different aspects of our everyday life. The first thing you want to change to improve your sight condition is digital habits, but that is not all. Let us find out how we can prevent DES:

  •       Screen brightness and contrast. These two characteristics should match the ambient light to reduce eyes’ stress.
  •       Proper distance. It should be at least 20 inches.
  •       20-20-20 rule. It is a technique of eye relaxation and focus. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away.
Technique Effectiveness
Screen Adjustment High
Workspace Ergonomics              High
Regular Breaks Medium

Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome

Take care of yourself and your children, and do not ignore disturbing signs of dry eye syndrome. Seeking the help of a professional can benefit you in many ways. Managing this condition under the proper guidance can be much faster and more effective. It can involve medication in combination with some lifestyle adjustments. Of course, every case requires an individual approach, but the DES treatment may have some similar features, such as:

  •       Eye lubrication. Artificial tears in the form of drops are used for immediate eye soreness relief.
  •       Tear productive medications. These drops can be a total life-savior, as they help regulate the process of eye moisturizing.
  •       Changing routine. Medication can hide symptoms, but victory on the DES requires removing the irritation source. You can reorganize your or child’s working space, adjust air humidity, or organize regular breaks from screen use.

Benefits of Using HandMoto Board

There are many methods to organize a break from screen usage. One of them is to introduce your child to the HandMoto Board. Playing with your child can be a fun bonding time and a whole new experience for your little one. HandMoto Board is a learning tool that enhances fine motor skills and cognitive development in the early stages of childhood. This tool can help your kids find fun and captivating activities beyond the internet, as well as give your own eyes a break.

FAQ about Dry Eye Syndrome and Electronics

How long does it take for symptoms of digital eye strain to appear?
Symptoms can manifest after just 2 hours of continuous screen use. 
Are certain types of screens more likely to cause dry eye symptoms?
Yes, screens with higher blue light emissions, like LEDs, are more likely to cause symptoms.
Can children develop DES from screen time?
Absolutely, children are increasingly at risk due to higher screen time from a younger age. 
How often should I take breaks from screens to prevent DES?
It's recommended to take a 5 minute break every hour of screen use.
Is it necessary to see a doctor for dry eye symptoms?
Yes, consulting a professional is advisable if symptoms persist or worsen, to rule out more serious conditions and to discuss potential treatment options.