Do Kids Blue Light Glasses Work?
In the modern world, with most kids on a screen for 8-10 hours a day, children’s eye health has become all the more important. That is because the wavelength of light that comes off of digital screens, called blue light, may cause long-term damage to a child’s visual development over time. There is not enough long-term data to say whether this damage really occurs or not, but most parents do not want to take a chance.
That’s why it is crucial to think about the health of your child’s eyes now. It is important to make sure their eyes develop healthy and strong, minimizing any risk of future problems. In this article, we will discuss the effects of blue light and screen time in children, why kids blue light glasses don't actually work, and what a better solution is.
Children’s Visual Development
Visual development in children starts early in the womb. The maturation process of the eye and the retina is an incredibly complex process that ultimately determines your child’s future vision. That is why it is important to ensure that pregnant mothers maintain a proper diet and nutrition protocol.
In addition, there are several other basic nutrients that are important for a child’s visual development. The most important nutrients for a child’s eye health include:
- Vitamin A: This vitamin is necessary for a healthy retina and to maintain healthy surface layers of the cornea and conjunctiva. Being deficient in vitamin A can cause blindness in children. It can also lead to night blindness and xerophthalmia, which is characterized by extreme dryness of a child’s ocular surface. You can easily find vitamin A in liver, eggs, some fish, sweet potato, winter squash, collards, kale, mango, and cantaloupe.
- Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant, this vitamin helps create collagen, which is essential to maintain the structure of the cornea, sclera, uvea, choroid, and vitreous. Vitamin C can be found in kiwi, lemons, oranges, papaya, strawberries, kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
- Vitamin E: Another important antioxidant for children’s eyes is vitamin E. This vitamin helps keep the lens clear and fights free radicals which cause damage to the retina. Vitamin E can be found in almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, wheat germ, avocado, sweet peppers, mangoes, salmon, and rainbow trout.
- Zinc: Found in the macula, in the center of the retina, zinc helps maintain high-resolution vision along with vitamin A. Zinc is essential for eye health, as well as for the immune system, brain, and other body parts. This necessary mineral is found in oysters, baked beans, cashews, and beef.
- Selenium: Another necessary mineral is selenium. Not only an antioxidant, but selenium also helps absorb vitamin E. It can be found in frozen spinach, brazil nuts, baked beans, tuna, halibut, turkey, and beef.
- Anthocyanins: These antioxidants are flavonoid polyphenols. They come from plants and contribute to some of the bright colors of fruits and vegetables. The recommended amount of anthocyanin-rich foods are 1 to 2 servings a day. Some of those servings can include berries, red grapes, pomegranate, cherries, plums, red cabbage, red onions, eggplant, purple sweet potatoes, and purple carrots.
- DHA: As mentioned before, DHA is so important for infants. This also holds for young children. They need omega-3 fatty acids not only for their vision but also for cognition. Both DHA and EPA omega-3s can be found in fish oil. You can find omega-3s in salmon, sardines, anchovies, chia seeds, brussels sprouts, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
The best way for your child to get these essential nutrients for eye health is through good nutrition habits. However, it is quite common for children to not get enough of these nutrients through their diet. Supplements may be considered for older children to provide the essential eye nutrients needed. A good multivitamin would include vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and selenium. You can also add a DHA/EPA supplement. Be sure to look up your child’s Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) to get an idea of how their diet measures up.
As children get older, school begins to require more visual involvement by way of reading, writing, chalkboard, and computer work. Eye health is key for a child to participate in all these important learning activities. If your child is not getting the necessary nutrients needed, they may feel tired, be unable to concentrate, and begin to have problems in school. It is a good idea to take your child to an ophthalmologist for an eye exam to assess their visual abilities. Catching a problem early is key to preventing any future eye issues.
In fact, recent studies have proven that high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in the brain are associated with reasoning and memory in school-aged children. It’s also been shown in studies that having high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin can help students with their reasoning skills, especially when related to the subjects of mathematics and language skills.
Not only is it important to ensure that your child’s eyes grow strong as they develop, but it is also important to protect their eyes from damage. Today’s digital technology exudes a harmful blue light that can be dangerous over long-term exposure. Next, we will talk about blue light and how it can affect your child, and what can be done to protect your child’s eyes.
Screen Time and its Effects on Kids Eyes
These days, children under the age of 8 spend two hours a day on average looking at a screen. And kids aged 8 to 10 on average spend six hours a day. From the years 2011 to 2017, this screen time has tripled in the 0 to 8 age group.
Parents are often worried about what sort of dangers lurk on these devices, but often do not realize that actual physical damage from staring at a screen for hours is also possible. Not only can this possibly cause neck strain, poor posture, and even headaches, there are also some eye problems caused by excessive screen time. Here are a few of them.
- Nearsightedness: Excessive screen time can keep children indoors. Without exposure to natural daylight, the eyes do not properly develop. Studies have found that children who spend more time inside are more likely to be nearsighted, or myopic. The rate of nearsighted children has increased dramatically. In the US, about 20% of 18-year olds have high myopia and have a high risk of uncorrectable vision loss. The effect of screens may also increase the chances a child will be astigmatic or hyperopic in adulthood.
- Digital eye strain and fatigue: Kids focus intensely on their screen, getting lost in what they are doing or watching. Spending two consecutive hours doing so can cause eyestrain and fatigue. Blue light from screens can decrease contrast, causing the eyes to overwork. The eyes get tired from the close-focus, even more so when there is a glare which only adds to the eye strain. Digital eye strain can cause dry eyes and difficulty focusing.
- Dry eyes: Long periods of screen time can also cause the eyes to dry out or get irritated. When concentrating on a screen, we tend to blink much less, which then causes dryness. Having a tear film on the surface of the eye that is clear and stable is key. Additionally, having a screen positioned in a way that makes the child have to look up can also make the problem worse.
- Blurred vision: Prolonged screen exposure can cause vision to blur when looking away. Dry eyes, eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision are all symptoms of a condition called computer vision syndrome. This should be diagnosed by an eye doctor, and eyeglasses or vision therapy could be prescribed.
- Retina damage: Research suggests that continued exposure to blue light may lead to damaged retinal cells over time. A whole host of vision problems could be caused as a result, including age-related macular degeneration.
Not only can screen time cause these issues, but it can also affect sleep. Many studies have been conducted involving the blue light emanating from device screens. Research says when devices are used in the evening, this affects the brain’s sleep rhythms. The light from the screen is interpreted as daytime by the brain, therefore shifting our circadian rhythm to wake up.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses For Kids
Children’s eyes are said to absorb even more blue light from screens than adults’ eyes. We must do our best to protect them during this vulnerable time in life. However, kids blue light glasses are not the best solution, because, as we have explained, getting the proper nutrients for visual development and supporting underlying growth and maturation of the visual system is the most important thing you can do. Obviously, a pair of yellow glasses is not going to do that.
How to Protect Your Child’s Eyes
It may seem a bit overwhelming to try to eliminate all the dangers in a child’s life. It is increasingly difficult in this age of booming technology. However, there are things you can do to help protect your child’s eyes from blue light.
- Monitor screen time: Set rules around how much time can be spent in front of screens. Having them take frequent breaks is also a good idea. You can teach your child the 20-20-20 rule. This is when you take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
- Filters: You can implement screen filters for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens. These filters can decrease the amount of blue light. We especially recommend such filters if using a device during the nighttime. You can find these filters for your phone wherever you download your apps, and they are free. For your computer screens, you should have a nightlight setting available in your features. These filters show warmer colors and emit less blue light. You can even program the filter to turn on at a certain time of day.
- Vitamins: Plant extracts lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in the eye. They are primary filters of high-energy blue light. Along with meso-zeaxanthin, they support visual health by protecting the eye from oxidative stress as well as inflammation. Additionally, they also promote brain and cognitive development in kids. Vitamins can also be good for getting rid of eye strain, which excess exposure to blue light can cause.
Taking vitamins is a great way to help your child neutralize the screen time. Along with a healthy diet, vitamins are the perfect supplement for eye health. We will now discuss some of the best vitamins available that can protect your child’s eyes from blue light.
- Lutein: Lutein is a naturally-occurring carotenoid. Carotenoids are mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments that give some plants their color. This carotenoid is related to beta-carotene, another carotenoid, as well as vitamin A. Lutein, along with zeaxanthin, are found as a color pigment in the macula and retina of the eye. They are thought to function as natural light filters that protect the eye from sun damage. You can find lutein in foods like egg yolks, corn, broccoli, spinach, kale, orange pepper, kiwi, grapes, orange juice, squash, and zucchini. It is best absorbed when taken with a meal high in fat. Lutein has built up quite a reputation in the eye health community. Lots of studies have been conducted on it as well as other carotenoids, with positive results. People often take lutein supplements for its possible benefit in preventing eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. You can often find it in small doses in many multivitamins.
- Zeaxanthin: Similarly, this carotenoid also helps protect your vision from harmful blue light. Also naturally occurring in the eye, zeaxanthin does not replenish as we age, leaving us more vulnerable later in life to eye problems. That is why it is a good idea to take it in supplement form, even from an early age. Taking both lutein and zeaxanthin can improve contrast sensitivity. This means your child may be better able to discern objects from their background. They also help with light sensitivity and glare recovery. As your child’s lutein and zeaxanthin levels increase, he or she may better deal with existing eye issues as well as possibly be better protected from the development of age-related eye health issues down the line.
- Meso-zeaxanthin: Recently a third carotenoid has been discovered in the macula, though not completely the same as the other two. Meso-zeaxanthin is a non-dietary carotenoid, meaning it is not found naturally in our diet like the other two. Evidence suggests that meso-zeaxanthin is produced by lutein in the retina through an isomerization process. Lutein and zeaxanthin are said to be transported from the serum to the retina, then to the macula. This is where lutein is converted into meso-zeaxanthin. These three powerful carotenoids make up the macular pigment that comes together to protect the retina from harm.
nurtureyes™ to Nurture Your Child’s Eyes
Make your child’s eye health a priority in this age of digital technology. It is important to keep regular eye doctor visits as your child ages, to ensure the best eye care during this vulnerable time in eye development. We hope you have learned a bit more about children’s eye health, as well as the variety of vitamins that can help contribute. From this article, you have learned three key ingredients to help protect your child’s eyes from harmful blue light.
These three eye protectors are now available from us here at eyetamins™. Now in gummy form! Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin from Lutemax 2020 make up our new product for kids called nurtureyes™. Lutemax 2020 ensures top quality, curated ingredients. With one mango-flavored gummy a day, your child will be on the way to better eye health. Our nurtureyes™ product helps filter harmful blue light due to excess screen time. It can also help nurture visual and cognitive development, as well as promotes better sleep and focus. The long-term eye health of your child is so important, as well as your own. We also have an adult equivalent of the product called happy eyes™, so you and your child can benefit from improved eye health together for years to come.