Health & Science

Digital Devices Are To Blame For Increasing Dry Eye Symptoms In Kids

Houston optometrists are noticing an increase in younger patients with dry eye symptoms.

Dr. Amber Gaume Giannoni with the University Of Houston College Of Optometry says less than two percent of her patients that are children complain about dry eye, but that seems to be changing.  

“Typically it is seen as a 40-plus disease state, so seeing 16, 18, and 22-year-olds has been relatively atypical,” says Gaume Giannoni.

In fact, she recently treated a 10-year-old for severe dry symptoms.

She says that the more children stare at a screen the less they tend to blink.

This is important because blinking helps stimulate the glands used to moisturize the eyes.

She suggests limiting screen time.

“So you know if it’s possible to limit to a couple hours a day and get them outside to play, is really the best thing,” says Gaume Giannoni.

A recent study suggests children as young as eight are getting six hours of screen time a day.

Another remedy is the 20-20-20 rule.

“A 20 second break, every 20 minutes that you’re on your digital device, where you look 20 feet away or somewhere off in the distance,” says Gaume Giannoni.

Dr. Gaume Giannoni recommends parents look out for symptoms like forcefully blinking, eye rubbing, and redness.

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