Children and Dry Eye

Children and Dry Eye Syndrome

We are all glued to our screens these days – phones, computers, iPads, and laptops – but none more than children, who are literally digital natives.

One down side of all this digital time is that increasingly, children are suffering from dry eyes related to ‘digital eye strain’ from the hours they spend staring at screens. The type of screens used, viewing distances, how many hours a day they use digital devices and whether they multi-screen, all have an impact on digital eye strain symptoms.

According to studies, about 80 per cent of children report digital eyestrain when using digital devices and are reporting symptoms such as gritty, scratchy eyes, the awful feeling like there’s something in the eye, redness, blurry vision, headaches and sensitivity to light.

Putting screens away in favour of playing outdoor or reading a book (yes, an actual book!) may help alleviate paediatric dry eye symptoms potentially aggravated by long-duration device usage. But this is easier said than done! Just ask any parent, it’s not easy to pull a kid away from the screen, it’s addictive.
So What’s the Link Between Screen Time and Dry Eye?

Researchers postulate that a reduced blink rate during prolonged screen usage causes faster evaporation of the lubricating tear film. Studies show that screen use versus reading reduced the blink rate to only 5-6 blinks per minute.

Prolonged device use influences blink patterns in other ways, as well. A study found that children had significantly higher rates of ‘incomplete’ blinks, for example, the upper eyelid failing to contact the lower lid when viewing a screen versus a book. This incomplete blink failed to adequately spread the tear film across the ocular surface in some cases. So, too, it's been proposed that a closer viewing distance, such as a small screen, can increase eye strain and fatigue.

You can’t take screens away from children for good, but you can limit the time they spend on their devices. Parents have been known to secretly turn the WiFi off to entice their children to play outside or to read a book. Dry Eye can also be helped with the use of TearsAgain liposomal spray because TearsAgain supports the deficiency of the lipid layer of the tear film which normally acts as a seal for the watery aqueous layer, preventing it from evaporating.

TearsAgain delivers the spray to the eye, which helps to repair the lipid layer. The spray is applied to the closed eyelid from about 10cm away. The eyelids should be kept closed for 10 seconds after the spray so that the liposomes settle on the eyelids and reach the edge of the eyelid.

After blinking the liposomes are distributed over the aqueous layer of the tear film, producing instant relief to dry eyes. Eye drops are hard to get into children’s eyes! TearsAgain is the perfect, non-invasive solution for dry eyes.