Tips to prevent hand-held devices from ruining vision

February 10, 2012 4:53:44 PM PST
We've heard about computers and their effect on our eyes, but those smartphones and hand-held devices may be much worse.

One Houston expert says the hand held technology is making people more near sighted. More and more people are finding their vision gets worse the first year after they get their smart screen!

Wesley LeRouax got 21 emails in just the few minutes that he was seeing an eye doctor. And then he learned those emails may be costing him -- in vision.

"With your increased use of your iPhone, your vison's worse," Vision Optique's Dr. Bridgitte Lee said.

Now he needs new glasses, in part, because of the time he spends on his smartphone!

"I'm always looking at it, whether it be to send out text messages or just to check to see what emails are coming in," LeRouax said.

Dr. Lee says the close up screens are causing users to become more nearsighted and lose some of their distance vision.

"When you're driving, looking for street signs -- anything small, far away -- that's when they first notice my vision's not quite as sharp as it was the year before," she said.

Dr. Lee says she see patients everyday, in the same boat. They get a handheld device with a small screen, and they distance vision gets worse.

The new concern is children who are using this handheld technology at an even younger age. So what can you do to protect their eyes and yours?

Dr. Lee says iPods should only be used for music, not games or movies.

"This screen is way too small, and I've seen a lot of children whose vision has decreased significantly because they've watch Netflix on the iPod," she said.

Children should hold the DSI on their laps.

"This is too close; this is what we see all the time," she said.

Hold smartphones and iPads on your lap, not close to your face.

"It's easier to type when you text much closer, but be mindful of that that's bad for the vision," Dr. Lee said.

A computer screen should be at arm's length. Keep the lights on in the room when using any screen device.

LeRouax plans to make some changes, but he's not giving up his iPhone anytime soon!

Experts say parents should limit screen time, but there's no hard and fast rule now. One recommendation is that kids take a 10-minute break every hour they're watching a screen.