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Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Screen Time Pros and Cons

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light

The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.

The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.

As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.

The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.


Why Does My Child Need a Pediatric Eye Exam?

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Reasons to Visit Your Pediatric Optometrist in Las Vegas, NV

Kids are not just miniature grown-ups. The visual system of children of all ages, from infants to teenagers, has unique needs; they are at risk for different eye conditions than an adult. Our pediatric optometrist is specially qualified and experienced in checking and treating kids’ eyes. If you are reading this and thinking to yourself – My child isn’t complaining… so why should we schedule a pediatric eye exam?, Dr. David Yesnick has a number of reasons to share with you! Read on to learn why it is essential to visit our Las Vegas pediatric optometrist.

Eye Exams Prevent Problems

Often, kids don’t complain when they can’t see well. They just get used to how their world looks and adapt. However, an undetected and untreated vision condition can interfere with their ability to learn, disrupt behavior, affect social skills, and compromise performance on the sports field. In sum, vision problems can have a huge effect on all parts of childhood! When you bring your child to a pediatric optometrist for a general eye check-up, you are helping to prevent all of these challenges.

Vision Testing is More Than Reading a Wall Chart

To set the record straight, we want you to be aware that a thorough eye exam by our pediatric optometrist in Las Vegas, NV, is not the same thing as a vision screening done in school. Vision testing in school is generally done by a nurse or teacher and not by a qualified eye care specialist. Also, while it can indicate a need for prescription eyewear to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, this type of basic testing cannot diagnose conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misaligned eyes), convergence problems, and trouble with accommodation (focusing). Many vision disorders that our pediatric optometrist may diagnose require treatment with vision therapy or a treatment other than eyewear.

School vision screening also does not inspect ocular health for any abnormalities or signs of disease. Using high-powered magnification, we will inspect the inner eye structure, retinal tissues, and optic nerve.

Red and Itchy Eyes? Your Child May Have Eye Allergies

If your child experiences eye irritation, such as redness, itchiness, or swelling, it could be due to eye allergies. Dr. Yesnick will examine kids’ eyes gently to make a diagnosis and offer effective treatment. A pediatric eye exam is the only reliable way to diagnose the precise problem, because the same set of symptoms can point to various conditions. Eye allergies, eye infection, dry eye, and computer vision can all cause tired, red, watery, and irritated eyes. Once our pediatric optometrist verifies the diagnosis, then we can match the most suitable treatment to relieve your child’s eye pain.

Warning Signs that Kids Need an Eye Exam ASAP

If you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms, then we encourage you to call and schedule a kid’s eye exam without delay! Being proactive with your child’s vision care is one of the best ways to protect him or her from unnecessary struggles in school and with friends.

  • Squinting, or closing one eye to see
  • Inability to hold a steady gaze
  • Poor tracking skills
  • Avoidance of reading
  • Wandering eye, or crossed eyes
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Excessive blinking
  • Head tilting or turning
  • Short attention span
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Red or swollen eyes/eyelids

Dr. Yesnick welcomes kids (and their parents) to visit Yesnick Vision Center for friendly service and expert pediatric eye care in Las Vegas!

Eye Emergencies in Children

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Eye emergencies are scary, more so, if they occur in an infant or a child. In such a case, remember to reassure your kid and yourself. Do not panic and talk to an optometrist who can guide you to recovery. It is good for us to be aware of the common eye emergencies in kids, so we can talk to the eye doctor and take timely action.

Medical Conditions

Some eye emergencies may be the result of an eye disease and may require surgical intervention.

  1. Retinopathy of prematurity: It can occur in premature babies. It causes an abnormal random growth of blood vessels in the eye, which may lead to blindness. It has no symptoms and can be detected during eye exams.
  2. Retinoblastoma: This can occur in the first three years of life. Symptoms include whiteness in the pupil and loss of vision.
  3. Infantile cataracts: This can happen in newborns.
  4. Congenital glaucoma: This is a genetic condition that is rare.
  5. Other genetic eye diseases

It is important to go for regular eye check-ups so that problems are detected at an early stage.

Eye Injuries in Las Vegas

In case of an eye injury, it is important to take action quickly to prevent complications and blindness. For eye discomfort due to regular things like dirt, you can take care of it at home. However, for more serious injury, or, if in any doubt, call your optometrist.

Call 702-500-0525

Small Eye Irritants

If it is a common irritant like sand or dirt, or small foreign objects on the surface of the eye or eyelids, take the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Take steps to prevent your child from rubbing the eyes. (in case of infants, swaddle them.)
  3. Examine the eye and try to locate the object
  4. Get your child to lean over a sink and take someone’s help if needed, to keep the eyes wide open.
  5. Flush the eye with lukewarm water using a faucet or a cup. Wash for 15 minutes, checking regularly in intervals of 5 minutes.

If, after flushing, the object is not removed, or if irritation persists, get help from your Las Vegas eye doctor.

Foreign Bodies Embedded in the Eyes

In this case, do not try to treat at home. Call for immediate emergency medical assistance. Cover the eye with a clean paper cup or similar object and tape in place to prevent any pressure on the eye. Reassure your child and yourself.

Chemical Irritants

In case of exposure to chemicals, immediately flush the eyes with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. Go for emergency assistance. You may even call your local poison control center for suggestions. Keep the name of the chemical handy if you know it.

Blunt Injuries and Black Eyes

Though these are most commonly minor issues, it is best to be doubly safe and have a check-up to rule out any serious issues.Take the following steps to soothe a black eye:

  1. Apply cold compress on and off – for 10 minutes at a time and in intervals of 15 minutes.
  2. After applying the cold compress for a day or two, do the same with a warm compress.
  3. Give acetaminophen for pain instead of ibuprofen(which may increase bleeding).
  4. Use pillows to let the child sleep on the side other than that of the injury.

Take immediate medical help if there is:

  • Increase in the redness of the eye
  • Drainage from the eye
  • Persistent eye pain
  • Vision changes
  • Prominent abnormality in the eyeball
  • Bleeding in the white of the eye

For all eye emergencies in the Las Vegas area, we recommend calling our office 702-500-0525 to get specific advice about your situation.


Is Your Teen Ready for Contacts?

Many teens who wear glasses are eager to try out contact lenses for convenience, fashion or to just provide another option for vision correction. For teens who feel self-conscious in their glasses, contact lenses can be a way to improve self-esteem. Young athletes and swimmers find that contacts are an excellent option for sports, especially as younger kids are becoming involved in sports and club teams outside of school.

While contacts might appear to be the perfect solution for teens that need corrective eyewear, they are a convenience that comes with a lot of responsibility so it’s not a decision to take lightly. Improper use of contact lenses can cause severe discomfort, infections, irritation and, in the worst cases, eye damage or even permanent vision loss.

“With Privilege Comes Responsibility”

Contact lenses are a medical device and should always be treated as such. They should never be obtained without a valid contact lens prescription from an eye doctor, and always purchased from an authorized seller. Among other issues, poor fitting contact lenses bought from illegitimate sources have been known to cause micro-abrasions to the eyes that can increase the risk of eye infection and corneal ulcers in worst case scenarios.

Particularly when it comes to kids and teens, it is best to purchase contact lenses from an eye doctor as they possess the expertise to properly fit contact lenses based on the shape of the eye, the prescription, the lifestyle of the child and other factors that may influence the comfort, health, and convenience of contact lens use.

There is some debate over the recommended age for kids to start considering contact lenses. While some experts will say the ideal age is between 11 and 14, there are many responsible children as young as 8 or even younger who have begun to successfully use them. When children are motivated and responsible, and parents are able to ensure follow-up to the daily regimen, earlier contact lens use can be a success. A good measure of whether your child is responsible enough to use contacts is whether they are able to keep their room clean or maintain basic hygiene like brushing teeth regularly and effectively.

When you think your child might be ready, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a contact lens exam and fitting. The process will take a few visits to perform the exam, complete a training session on how to insert, remove and care for lenses, then to try out the lenses at home and finally reassess the comfort and fit of the contacts. You may try out a few varieties before you find the best fit.

What Kind of Contact Lens Is Best for My Teen?

The good news is that contact lens use has become easier than ever, with safety, health, and convenience being more accessible as technology improves. There are a number of options including the material used to make the lenses (soft or rigid gas permeable), the replacement schedule (if disposable, how often you replace the pair – daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly) and the wear schedule (daily or extended overnight wear).

Single-use, daily disposable lenses have become very popular, particularly with younger users, because they are easy to use, requiring no cleaning or storing, and therefore they reduce the risk of infection and misuse. You simply throw out the lenses at night and open a new one in the morning. Your eye doctor will be able to help you and your teen determine the best option.

Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Following are some basic contact lens safety tips. If your teen is responsible enough to follow these guidelines, he or she may be ready for contact lens use:

  1. Always follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your doctor.
  2. Always wash your hands with soap before applying or removing contact lenses.
  3. Never use any substance other than contact lens rinse or solution to clean contacts (even tap water is a no-no).
  4. Never reuse contact lens solution
  5. Follow the eye doctor’s advice about swimming or showering in your lenses
  6. Always remove your lenses if they are bothering you or causing irritation.
  7. Never sleep in your lenses unless they are extended wear.
  8. Never use any contact lenses that were not acquired with a prescription from an authorized source. Never purchase cosmetic lenses without a prescription!

Contact lens use is an ongoing process. As a child grows, the lens fit may change as well, so it is important to have annual contact lens assessments. Plus, new technology is always being developed to improve comfort and quality of contact lenses.

Contact lenses are a wonderful invention but they must be used with proper care. Before you let your teen take the plunge into contact lens use, make sure you review the dangers and safety guidelines.

10 Tips to Teach Children About Eye Safety

girl in funny glasses

It is important to teach your children about eye health and safety from a young age. This includes awareness about how your overall health habits affect your eyes and vision as well as how to keep your eyes safe from injury and infection. Starting off with good eye habits at a young age will help to create a lifestyle that will promote eye and vision health for a lifetime.

10 Eye Health Tips for All:

  1. Eat right. Eating a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially green leafies such as kale, spinach and broccoli) as well as omega-3s found in fish, such as salmon, tuna and halibut, help your eyes get the proper nutrients they need to function at their best.
  2. Exercise. An active lifestyle has been shown to reduce the risk of developing a number of eye diseases as well as diabetes – a disease which which can result in blindness.
  3. Don’t Smoke. Smoking has been linked to increased risk of a number of vision threatening eye diseases.
  4. Use Eye Protection. Protect your eyes when engaging in activities such as sports (especially those that are high impact or involve flying objects), using chemicals or power tools or gardening. Speak to your eye doctor about the best protection for your hobbies to prevent serious eye injuries.
  5. Wear Shades. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses and a hat with a brim when you go outside. Never look directly at the sun.
  6. Be Aware: If you notice any changes in your vision, always get it checked out. Tell a parent or teacher if your eyes hurt or if your vision is blurry, jumping, double or if you see spots or anything out of the ordinary. Parents, keep an eye on your child. Children don’t always complain about problems seeing because they don’t know when their vision is not normal vision. Signs of excessive linking, rubbing, unusual head tilt, or excessively close viewing distance are worth a visit to the eye doctor.
  7. Don’t Rub! If you feel something in your eye, don’t rub it – it could make it worse or scratch your eyeball. Ask an adult to help you wash the object out of your eye.
  8. Give Your Eyes a Break. With the digital age, a new concern is kids’ posture when looking at screens such as tablets or mobile phones. Prevent your child from holding these digital devices too close to their eyes. The Harmon distance is a comfortable viewing distance and posture – it is the distance from your chin to your elbow. There is concern that poor postural habits may warp a child’s growing body. Also, when looking at a tv, mobile or computer screen for long periods of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, by looking at something 20 feet away.
  9. Create Eye Safe Habits. Always carry pointed objects such as scissors, knives or pencils with the sharp end pointing down. Never shoot objects (including toys) or spray things at others, especially in the direction of the head. Be careful when using sprays that they are pointed away from the eyes.
  10. Keep Them Clean. Always wash your hands before you touch your eyes and follow your eye doctors instructions carefully for proper contact lens hygiene. If you wear makeup, make sure to throw away any old makeup and don’t share with others.

By teaching your children basic eye care and safety habits you are instilling in them the importance of taking care of their precious eye sight. As a parent, always encourage and remind your children to follow these tips and set a good example by doing them yourself.

Of course don’t forget the most important tip of all – get each member of your family’s eyes checked regularly by a qualified eye doctor! Remember, school eye screenings and screenings at a pediatrician’s office are NOT eye exams. They are only checking visual acuity but could miss health problems, focusing issues and binocularity issues that are causing health and vision problems.

How to Find the Right Pair of Glasses for your Child


Whether you are looking for regular prescription glasses, sunwear or protective sports eyewear, it can be tough choosing the best eyewear for children and teens. On the one hand, they need to be comfortable and provide the optimal fit for improved vision and protection. At the same time, they also need to be durable, especially if your child is active, plays contact sports or tends to drop or lose things. Not to mention, particularly once you get into tween and teenage years, they have to be stylish and look good. When you add in a budget and your child’s opinion, the decision can be truly overwhelming.

Before you begin looking, it is best to narrow down your options by answering the following questions (and consulting your eye doctor when necessary):

  1. Does my child need to wear his or her glasses all the time or are they for part time wear?
  2. Does my child’s prescription call for a thicker or wide lens requiring a certain type of frame?
  3. Does my child have any allergies to frame materials?
  4. What type of sports protection does my child need?
  5. Would cable (wrap around) temples or a strap be necessary for my child (particularly in toddlers)?
  6. Do I have a preference in material or features (such as flexible hinges or adjustable nose pads)?
  7. Are there particular colors or shapes that my child prefers or that will look most attractive?

Armed with the answers to those questions and a qualified optician, you can begin your search. Keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Including your children in the selection process will greatly enhance the chances of them actually being excited about wearing and caring for their glasses. So make it fun and exciting for them!
  2. Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses are impact-resistant lenses that are recommended for children’s eyewear to protect their eyes. Also consider adding a scratch resistant coating.
  3. When trying on options, consult with the optician to ensure proper fit. Make sure the frames don’t slide off the bridge of the nose, cover the eyes, squeeze at the temples or extend too far behind the ears. Proper frame fit is especially important for kids with specialty prescriptions like bifocals or Myovision, and for kids with lazy eye (amblyopia) and high spectacle Rx.
  4. If shopping for protective sports eyewear, consider the conditions of the sport your child plays to ensure proper eye protection. They now have much more selection in children’s safety eyewear with cool designs and some glasses even have convertible temples (arms) and straps to become interchangeable dress wear and safety wear.
  5. Keep in mind that it may be more cost effective to spend a little more on strong and durable eyewear now than to have to replace a flimsy pair later. Each office differs in the warranties they offer and the length and terms of coverage. Ask your optician about what is and is not covered under their frame and lens coverage policy.
  6. If your child is put into bifocal lenses for reading issues or poor focusing issues (commonly used in pediatric vision therapy) they will generally require a deeper frame in order to have enough room for the bifocal, which is often difficult when dealing with smaller frames.
  7. Consider a blue light protecting anti-reflective coating. Children are especially prone to damage from blue wavelengths of light because their human lenses are so clear. Blue light is emitted from many of the devices we use such as cell phone screens, tablets, laptops, TVs, and the sun as well.

The great news is that the options in children’s eyewear in terms of style, quality and innovation is progressing rapidly. Rather than dreading the eyewear shopping experience, have a positive attitude. This will have a positive influence on your child’s relationship to eyewear and good vision that can last a lifetime.

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