TV, Computer Games Impairing Child's Eyesight

by Medindia Content Team on  December 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
TV, Computer Games Impairing Child's Eyesight
Brit eye specialists have revealed that games and television are responsible for impairing a child's visual development and a major cause of damaging children's reading and learning abilities.

This is making it harder for kids to read from books and carry out takes as simple as adjusting the eye from desk to blackboard.

Evidence has been found that sight problems which have not been corrected are the major cause of behavioral problems at school.

The researchers put excessive screen-watching at an early age to be at fault for this problem

Top eye doctors in the US are so concerned about this growing problem that they have warned parents to limit their children's exposure and ensure their eyes are checked regularly.

"Children need appropriate visual stimulation for sight to develop normally. Parents should limit TV and computer games, especially in children under six whose sight is still developing, though the effects occur in older children too," The Daily Express quoted Professor Andrea Thau, spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association, as saying.

Similar concerns have been expressed by UK experts.

Keith Holland, a leading specialist in children's eye problems, and his team have examined 12,500 children's eyes in the past decade and reported a dramatic increase in problems linked to such exposure.

Mr Holland thought this to be the reason why many of his patients did not succeed academically.

"The reduction in reading skills, along with the vast increase in time spent playing computer games, is linked," he said.

He added: "Humans are not designed to look at a flat screen for long periods - and this is especially the case for children or infants whose vision is developing - and we believe visual skills are being damaged."

A growing number of 10-year-olds had the focusing skills equivalent to a person of 50, while many teenagers had the immature eye movements of a three-year-old child, said Mr Holland, who runs a behavioural optometry clinic in Cheltenham, Glos.

"Computer games and long periods watching television are unnatural and we are sure this is a factor," he said.

As a result of one of the study carried out by Mr Holland and his team, 18 of 21 children expelled from school had undiagnosed sight problems.

"Reading makes my eyes hurt, which does my head in," one guy told the team.

"Staring at a two-dimensional screen instead of going outside to play in the three-dimensional world gives children a non-functioning distorted visual system," said Caroline Hurst, chairman of the British Association of Behavioural Optometrists.

He added: "If young children and babies don't learn these skills it makes it very hard for them to carry out higher-level reading and writing skills later on."

Education Secretary Ed Balls called on parents last month in order to limit the time allowed to their children to play computer games and urged them to spend at least 10 minutes a night reading them bedtime stories.

Source: ANI

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