Technology takes blame for poor vision, but also helping children see

Research is ongoing, but many point fingers at the increased role of screen time in our lives for the worsening of our vision. The latest findings are that overexposure to blue light from today’s electronic devices may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration. But, like the television that took the blame in decades past, our latest screens aren’t going away anytime soon.

Millions of people have their vision corrected every year with LASIK surgery and get to say goodbye to glasses and contacts. And if laser eye surgery seems ho-hum these days, scientists are testing bionic eyes on the blind for something truly out of science fiction. However, there are many people these high tech surgeries cannot help, and it is the very screens some are quick to blame that are responsible for assisting them.



One such instance is amblyopia, or lazy eye, where there is a weak eye-brain connection. For years the go-to fix for amblyopia was to have children wear an eyepatch over the stronger eye to fix the weaker eye and retrain the brain. However, a recent study using an iPad video game helped 40 percent of children achieve near-normal vision compared with 7 percent of those wearing the eyepatch.

Children with amblyopia and other problems with vision can develop low self-esteem, reading difficulties, and permanent vision impairment can reduce their opportunities in life. Keeping up with homework and classwork is hard enough for children, but there are many that can’t even see the work. Others’ vision is so poor that they have trouble seeing well enough to groom themselves and perform basic tasks.

That is where groups such as Sight Savers America are helping. Through their programs they are giving telescopes, computer software, and Electronic Video Magnifiers to children with severe visual impairment who normally can’t afford the expensive technology often not covered by insurance.

Watch the video to see one Dallas girl get her eyes and her life back through Sight Savers America.