Eye experts warn parents about risks from Christmas tech

As British shoppers look forward to the tech bundles and deals of Black Friday, new research released today supports leading eye surgeons’ advice to parents to avoid eye damage from games consoles, tablets and e-readers when Christmas shopping for their children this year.

The researchⁱ, commissioned by Optegra Eye Health Care, shows that one in five GPs and opticians believe that technology is one of the main causes of the rising eye health problems seen in the UK over the past five to 10 years.

And nearly half (45 per cent) of opticians say that they have seen an increase in technology-related eye problems in the past five years.

However, despite 75 per cent of British adults agreeing that over-use of technology has a damaging effect on eyes, parents are letting their children spend an average 2 hours 54 minutes every day playing on games consoles, computers or tablets. 

Thirty per cent of parents are allowing their children to spend three to four hours each day on their various screens and 11 per cent admit to allowing five to six hours a day.  

The research excludes hours children spend watching television or doing school work online.

Leading ophthalmic surgeon and Medical Director at Optegra Eye Health Care, Mr Rob Morris, says: “It is clear from our research that a worrying number of British children are having far more screen time than recommended, which we know can lead to conditions like eye strain and dry eye.  

“We would urge parents to ensure their children take regular breaks from the tech presents they receive this Christmas.

“If their children have symptoms of sore, dry eyes they should take advice from an optician at a check-up.”
The Optegra research also reveals:
  • 13 per cent of parents don’t allow their children to have any screen time playing on games consoles, computers or tablets
  • 50 per cent of British families primarily use computers as their main technology at home, compared to 34 per cent using smartphones and 12 per cent using tablets 
  • British adults are spending an average of three hours a day looking at smartphones and six hours a day looking at a computer screen or tablet
  • More than one in ten 16-24 year olds say they spend over 12 hours a day looking at their smartphone
  • More than one in 10 opticians and GPs say not taking regular breaks from looking at computer screens causes eye health problems 

Optegra Eye Health Care will be launching its Vision of Britain tour of a number of major UK cities in January/February 2016 offering free eye health checks to the local community, and offering a free report on eye health including guidance on managing technology-related eye problems.  Further details on the roadshows and report are available at optegra.com/VOB.

Optegra in the news

This story was also featured in the following publications:
Optician online
Bradford Telegraph and Argus
Female First


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