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Experts blame screen time for skyrocketing eye problems

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Ninth-grader Mallory Hopper first noticed an issue with her eyes at school.

"I was getting like headaches and I couldn’t see everything as well," she said bluntly.

A visit to her eye doctor turned up a familiar story.

"We use tablets in school. We’ve used chrome books. I’m on my phone," she said. "I’m 14 (years old) so that makes sense but…"

All those screens were taking a toll on her eyes.

"They’re like oh, you like have eye fatigue and we’re gonna fit you in these lenses and I was like OK cool. It’s not going to be in pain anymore. OK," Mallory recalled.

Eye fatigue is a far too common sight these days for Dr. Keith Miloshoff at Busby Eye Care in Westfield.

"I see it every single day. Literally every single day. I mean probably at least two or three patients every single day. It can be the adults. It can be kids," Miloshoff said.

Miloshoff estimates he personally sees 1,000 patients a year with eye fatigue, nearly half his patients - some as young as 5 years old.

"Computer screen, electronics, cell phones, we’re just using our eye muscles way too much. Basically we need to get them a little more relaxed," Miloshoff asserted.

So he's been prescribing thousands of anti-fatigue glasses to combat the effect of hours and hours of seemingly unavoidable screen time.

"All day in school all our work is on the computer. Like there’s no paper anymore really. So it’s all of these turning in assignments on computer and texting my friends and asking what are you wearing today?" Mallory said.

Parents can help kids avoid eye fatigue with a method called the "20/20 rule.”

Look away from your screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds to relax the eyes.

Or you're left with the same decision Mallory had to make: cut the screen time or wear the glasses.

For Mallory it's, "Glasses for sure."

Dr. Miloshoff says all the blue light we view makes us all more at risk for vision loss.

Those blue light cell phone settings can help. He he says glasses work far better to prevent eye fatigue or worse.

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