Our world’s increasing dependence upon iPhones, iPads, and computers has definitely taken a toll on our visual health. These objects are not necessarily physiologically impairing our health, but the function, flexibility, and comfort of using our eyes can be compromised by these devices.

Our eye is the only organ in the body that has two different nervous systems operating different parts of it at the same time. Movement through space helps the development and coordination of these two nervous systems. A child learns to gain better motor control over their different body parts by moving through space guided by the visual system. I cannot emphasize more strongly the need for children to play, move, and do three-dimensional real-world activities. It is so easy to use flat screens as babysitters, but they are not helping children’s vision development or visual motor skills.

Please significantly limit the amount of time they spend using the tablet devices to help their development. We are in a three-dimensional world, but those objects are two-dimensional. It is becoming more and more of a problem as we are seeing children who do not know how to efficiently move their body through space.

The other part that is so easy to do is to allow extended periods of time using the tablet and iPhones. It is so easy to get sucked into that device, and time flies by. Studies have been done showing that as we engage with these devices, our respiration and blink rate slow down. We become so engaged that basic metabolic functions start to slow.

It is so important from an early age to teach children to spend a maximum of fifteen or twenty minutes doing sustained near-point work and then take a break. Spend at least a minute or so moving, getting a drink of water, looking out a window, and moving and breathing to help refresh the eye.

As adults, the same thing applies. We will be far more efficient when we are doing computer work if we take breaks every twenty minutes and allow our visual system to “refresh.” For students of any age, please look at my “Study Smarter, Not Harder” report giving a number of study tips to make studying easier, almost fun, and definitely more productive.

Another part of visual hygiene relates to the type of light coming off our computer devices. The blue-white light is a daytime color. There have been at least two studies related to iPad users using them for two hours in the evening. After two hours of use over a two-month period of time, melatonin production dropped 11 percent. This is extremely important for getting good-quality sleep. More and more people are having difficulty getting a good night’s rest because of the exposure to the concentrated daytime light color temperature coming off our devices.

Please look into downloading free software, which can be very helpful for decreasing this problem. It is well worth looking into www.JustGetFlux. com as it will automatically warm the color temperature of your device in the evening hours, which significantly decreases the interference with our circadian rhythm.

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If you, your child, or a loved one has a vision-related learning disability, I invite you to schedule a free consultation today!