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Dear EarthTalk: Years ago I read that children should be kept at least two feet from the television because of harmful electronic emissions. Is this still relevant? Is there a difference regarding this between older and new flat-screen models?
—Horst E. Mehring, Oconomowoc, Wisc.

Luckily for many of us and our kids, sitting “too” close to the TV isn’t known to cause any human health issues. This myth prevails because back in the 1960s General Electric sold some new-fangled color TV sets that emitted excessive amounts of radiation—as much as 100,000 times more than federal health officials considered safe. GE quickly recalled and repaired the faulty TVs, but the stigma lingers to this day.

But even though electronic emissions aren’t an issue with TVs made any time after 1968 (including today’s LCD and plasma flat screens), what about causing harm to one’s vision? Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology isn’t concerned, maintaining that watching television screens—close-up or otherwise—“won’t cause any physical damage to your eyes.” He adds, however, that a lot of TV watching can surely cause eye strain and fatigue, particularly for those sitting very close and/or watching from odd angles. But there is an easy cure for eye strain and fatigue: turning off the TV and getting some rest. With a good night’s sleep, tired eyes should quickly return to normal.

Debra Ronca, a contributor to the How Stuff Works website, argues that some parents might be putting the cart before the horse in blaming close-up TV watching for their child’s vision issues. “Sitting close to the television may not make a child nearsighted, but a child may sit close to the television because he or she is nearsighted and undiagnosed,” she reports. “If your child habitually sits too close to the television for comfort, get his or her eyes tested.”

Of course, excessive TV viewing by kids can cause health problems indirectly. According to the Nemours Foundation’s KidsHealth website, children who consistently watch TV more than four hours a day are more likely to be overweight, which in and of itself can bring about health problems later. Also, kids who watch a lot of TV are more likely to copy bad behavior they see on-screen and tend to “fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.” Nemours also finds that TV characters often depict risky behaviors (like smoking and drinking) and also tend to reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.

There has also been much debate in recent years on the effects of TV viewing on infants. A 2007 Seattle Children’s Research Institute study found that for every hour per day infants spent watching baby DVDs and videos they learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. But a 2009 study by the Center on Media & Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston found no negative cognitive or other impacts whatsoever on those infants exposed to more television than less.

While it may be inevitable that your kids will watch TV, the key, experts say, is moderation. Limit kids’ exposure to screens of any kind, and monitor what they are allowed to watch. As KidsHealth points out, parents should teach their kids that the TV is “for occasional entertainment, not for constant escapism.”

 

Article Credit: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-talk-tv-eyesight

Are electronics bad for our eyes?
Are electronics bad for our eyes?

Are electronics bad for our eyes?   Nine hours per day -- that's how much time the average American spends in front of cell phone, tablet, computer or television screens. All that screen time is causing eye strain and other vision problems, according to a new report by the Vision Council, a nonprofit trade association. Researchers surveyed more than 7,000 people and found that screen time is steadily increasing for kids and adults. Over the past year, the number of people who admitted spending 10 hours per day on electronic devices rose 4 percent. “Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of the growing use of these devices," the researchers wrote in the report. "Adults aged 18 to 34 report feeling eye strain at a higher rate (45 percent) than their older counterparts.” Constantly staring at a screen can lead to a host of problems, said Douglas Lazzaro, MD, professor and chairman in the Department of Ophthalmology at SUNY Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y.   credit: everydayhealth.com

DR. BERNARD ARNOLD
DR. BERNARD ARNOLD

DR. BERNARD ARNOLD   EDUCATION 1965-1967 Georgia Southwestern College 1967-1971 Southern College of Optometry, Memphis, TN- OD-Doctorate in Optometry EXPERIENCE Private Practice | 105 Wappoo Creek Drive Suite 4B Optometrist 1972-2007  Examine eyes, using observation, instruments, and pharmaceutical agents to determine visual acuity and perception and focus and coordination; Diagnose and manage eye disease; Low vision specialist; Make referrals & Manage Treatment; Prescribe medications to treat diseases as permitted by state law; and Analyze test results and coordinate treatment plans Manage a private practice office; Hire and maintain staff; Handle ordering of all glasses and materials; Create professional liaisons; Implement EMR (electronic medical records); Handle payrolls; Create a welcoming environment for patients and their families Independent Contractor | Charleston & Surrounding Areas Optometrist 2007-Present PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY • Licensed: South Carolina and Virginia • Member: SCOA and AOA • Excellent communication and management skills. • Proficient with EMR (quikeyes) • Volunteer Work- Board member Association for the Blind 2000 -2010; Catholic Charities 2010-2013

Stephen E. Goodwin LDO
Stephen E. Goodwin LDO

   Stephen E. Goodwin LDO is the owner and operator of Renewed Vision Optical at 1230 Amelia St. in Orangeburg, SC. He has been a Licensed Optician in the State of South Carolina since August of 1991 (lic.# SC584).  Mr. Goodwin is certified by the American Board of Opticianary and by the National Contact Lens Examiners.  Stephen has been employed in the optical field since 1982 (34+ years) and has had a wide range of experiences involving the medical, technical, and business aspects of the eye care industry.  He is committed to providing his customers eyewear products that meet their personal needs and personal styles - so they are optimally suited for their everyday lives.  He also aims to help customers obtain the best vision and quality of eye care possible.  Overall, Mr. Stephen Goodwin is well-qualified and does his best to ensure his patients are getting the services they need for a price they can afford.        He has years of experience making lenses - including lens layout and lens generation from surfacing lab work to finishing work.  His knowledge and experience comes from working in wholesale labs, also retail sales and management.  Stephen managed the Sears Optical shop in the Prince of Orange Mall in Orangeburg for five years before opening Renewed Vision Optical in 2004.  Mr. Goodwin presently lives in Orangeburg, SC with his wife, Deborah.  They have four children and have been married for 22 years.    

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