PPG Newsletter Issue No. 33

PPG Community Events Update

By Dr. Jessica Xu

PPG needs four more volunteers with experience and leadership skills to join our executive team: VP of Community Outreach, VP of Legal Affairs, Project Lead for Public Oversight of PUSD Financials, and Project Lead for Supporting Spanish Initiative.  If interested, please email info@pusdparents.org, include relevant experience and mark the subject line accordingly.

PPG also seeks new articles for the Newsletter.  The article needs to be concise and does not exceed one page. PPG welcomes creative ideas, constructive suggestions and healthy debates from all stakeholders in the PUSD community. If you are interested in submitting an article to PPG Newsletter, email info@pusdparents.org .

PPG’s 4th annual two-month Keep Myopia Away in Digital Age public health campaign continues in April. PPG has worked hard to raise awareness of the escalation of Computer Vision Syndrome and Myopia among children and teens.  Check out more tips for healthy eyes in this newsletter.

Last but not the least, PPG’s inaugural Spanish Poetry Contest is extended to April 16, 2018.  For details, visit PPG Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PUSDParentsGroup/ .

Safe and Creative Personalized Education (XVII)

Nutrition for Healthy Eyes

By Dr. Jessica Xu

Good vision is critical to a child’s learning. Many people experience higher visual stress when doing intensive near-work at digital screens, a health problem called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Common symptoms include blurred vision, dry eyes, headache, nausea, and eye pains. With increasing access to digital screens, symptoms of CVS are becoming common among children and teens. Unfortunately, children and teens are much more vulnerable as human eyes are still in development until, in general, 20 years old. It is more challenging and urgent to protect your child’s vision in digital age.

While there is not enough data to assess the impact of screens on eye development in children and teens yet, our knowledge based on adults gives helpful suggestions.  One is proper digital visual hygiene when viewing digital screens, addressed in last month’s article.  The other important factor is increasing eye health nutrition.

Human eyes blink much less when looking at screens.  Many adults working at screens develop dry eyes.  Optometrists now notice that more children have dry eyes, which was never a concern before.  Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against dry eyes and other eye diseases.

Digital devices emit blue lights, which is generally believed to cause many symptoms of CVS. Some adults working at screens develop light sensitivity, or photophobia, a condition that eyes become overly sensitive to light.  Patients with photophobia have migraine, eye pains and blurred vision in bright light. 

While there are numerous causes for photophobia, general light sensitivity increases in patients with macular degeneration. UV and blue light from the sun is generally understood to cause chronic eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are antioxidants that are located in the eye. Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD.  Intriguingly, a recent double-blind study showed that daily supplement of 20mg lutein and 4mg zeaxanthin reduced symptoms of CVS.

Taking lutein and zeaxanthin supplements may be a quick fix for CVS, but there may be unknown risks in long-term use, especially for children and teens. The safer long-term approach is healthy diet. Green leafy vegetables, as well as other foods such as eggs, contain these two important nutrients. The top two sources are kale and spinach.

Electronic and digital devices have become prevalent only since 1950s. We are at very early stage in understanding long-term impacts of screens on human eyesight and human eye development. Nonetheless, an ounce of prevention is worth one pound of cure. It is prudent to take precaution now and encourage kids to practice digital visual hygiene and have healthier diets. 

Every child has the right to pursue a healthy and productive life.  Our children’s eyes are precious.  Let’s take good care of them.

Next issue:

Safe and Creative Personalized Education (XVIII) World Language Textbooks

www.pusdparents.org

PUSD Parents Group (PPG) is a fast emerging nonprofit organization that seriously loves our Poway Unified School District (PUSD) and our community. We welcome all PUSD stakeholders within our community. Our mission is to strengthen the voice of our community. Our efforts are aimed at those who make change happen: PUSD parents, students, teachers and taxpayers. We highly value fiscal responsibility, accountability, transparency and all things that will demonstrate PUSD honesty and reliable communication with the community.