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Posted on 03-28-2014

    Everyday Technology Could Be Damaging Your Family’s Eyes

Just like a kid at Christmas I could not wait until the day my new tablet computer would arrive.  I had thoroughly researched the brand I wanted and carefully chose my options which included an apple green cover.  The anticipated day finally arrived and as I opened the package I thought, “Wow, this thing is so cool, I am not middle-aged, I am cool!”  After several minutes of trying to turn on the magnificent piece of wonder, I hand it over to my son to show me how.  Okay, I am middle-aged and maybe not as cool as I thought.

On the other end of the “cool” spectrum, finding out your electronic devices may be damaging your eyes is definitely not cool. You know you should wear sunglasses to block harmful UV rays from the sun, but did you know you should wear protective eyewear for everyday activities like watching tv, surfing the web on your tablet or keeping in touch on your smartphone?  Today’s electronic devices emit high- energy blue light.  Unlike UV light from the sun that can damage the front of the eye and cause cataracts, blue light penetrates the back of the eye and can cause damage to the retina, putting you at risk for macular degeneration.

 Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65.  There are several risk factors for developing AMD including family history, smoking, and diet as well as just getting older.  The question is, “Will doctors begin seeing more cases of macular degeneration at earlier ages due to blue-light retinal damage?”  

Young children are routinely reaching for mom’s phone or tablet to watch movies or play the latest “Disgruntled Birds” or “Candy Smash” games and this is of particular concern to Dr. David Littlejohn.  Dr. Littlejohn says that most UV damage occurs to the eyes before the age of 18.  “The lens of a child’s eye is very clear, unlike an older adult’s lens that has yellowed or thickened over time.”  Since UV and high-energy blue light damage is cumulative over time, Dr. Littlejohn recommends protective lenses to patients of all ages. 

My husband tells me I need these lenses, as well.  Immediately I see myself with those big glasses of yesteryear sporting bright yellow lenses and I think, “Oh, not cool, not cool at all.” Fortunately, today’s technology allows your eye doctor to provide you with UV/Blue Light blocking lenses that look very similar to regular lenses.  With barely any tint, you can have the protection you need without color distortion or the risk of committing an eyewear fashion faux pas.

Last week I ordered my designer eyeglass frames complete with Blue-Tech lenses from my favorite optometrist, Dr. David Littlejohn.  I ‘m excited to get my new glasses.  Best of all, these new lenses with all their technology won’t require an app to download or a kid to explain them to me.  Now that’s cool!

I am reminded of Helen Keller’s famous quote, “Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful.”  Truly sight is delightful and worth the effort of preserving.  Schedule your yearly eye examination with your optometrist today and be sure to ask them about UV/Blue Light blocking lenses.

This blog is written by Michelle Littlejohn, wife of Dr. David Littlejohn located at  8090 Looney Rd., Piqua.      (937)606-7995

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