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Handheld Digital Devices: Friend and Foe

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Dr. Cauchi, your trusted optometrist in La Mesa, CA, discusses the potential harms and benefits handheld digital devices can have on your eyes and optical health.

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Every day, I see children glued to their parents’ tablets and phones. These handheld devices are a fabulous method to keep your kids quiet and happily entertained when you are at an appointment, running an errand or busy around the house. The child is mesmerized while viewing the 5 inches from their little eyes. When we consider handheld devices in this mindset, they are our friend.

How Handheld Digital Devices Can Be Our Foe

Can handheld devices also serve as a potential foe?  Yes, the very continuous close focusing distance is one of the contributing factors in the myopia epidemic. In the optometry field, we see more and more children developing nearsightedness (myopia) at an earlier age.  This gives these young patients more time to end up with a very high prescription.  Aside from the potential social issues, myopia is also a big risk factor for leading to detached retinas, glaucoma and macular disease.

Best Practices for Handheld Digital Device Use

So, what can you do to prevent eye strain and myopia due to handheld digital device use?

1. Hold the device at least 18 inches from your (or your child’s) face.

2. Enforce the rule 30 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

3. Parents can consider using the handheld digital device as a teaching tool: hold it for children and ask them questions.

4. Receive annual eye exams to detect possible onset of myopia and other eye conditions.

5. Contact the eye care experts at Vision Solutions to learn more ways to protect your vision from digital device use. To get started, call us at (619) 461-4913 or request an appointment online while you are here on our website.


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