Kern Health jul18 Asthma leader

New Bakersfield Eye Doctor Gives Insight to Screen Time

Local ophthamologist Sandeep Walia with wife Kirti and daughter Iyla LJ Radon.
Parents may have 99 problems when it comes to managing screen time for their children, but worrying about damage to their eyesight isn’t one of them. “There’s no proven damage that comes to the eye from screens, but screens can change your mood and cause migraines and tension that can affect them in a lot of other ways,” explained Sandeep Walia, a Bakersfield ophthalmologist with Dignity Foundation Physicians Group.

Walia said while there is a concern about the blue light that comes from screens, the light doesn’t cause retinal damage. “There’s no tissue damage from blue light,” he said. “It can make a difference in your circadian rhythm and make it hard to fall asleep.”

Walia, a recent graduate of Emory Eye Center, is relatively new to Kern County, relocating to the Golden State from Atlanta, Georgia. “We picked Bakersfield and I love it,” he said. “It’s a small town where I can drive to daycare and still be to work by 7:30 a.m. The people here are genuinely happy. There’s kind of a southern hospitality out west.”

Walia said within six months of moving to California he became an adjunct professor at a nursing school and active in the high schools. “That would be difficult in LA, where you’re making a paycheck just to pay a mortgage,” he said. “Bakersfield is affordable and family-oriented, and you have a great opportunity to grow.”

Walia, a comprehensive ophthalmologist who is trained in pediatric and adult eye surgeries, works with Gregory Stainer. “I met Dr. Stainer about three years ago,” Walia recalled. “We’re medical doctors and we have three optometrists in our practice. Whether you need glasses or patching for kids, we do a little bit of everything. You always have somebody who fits your needs.”

Walia, who with his wife has a 10-month-old daughter, said there are no screening guidelines for young children, but parents should keep an eye on their children’s eyesight and pay attention to anything that seems unusual. “There isn’t a good baseline screening exam,” he admitted. “A lot of elementary schools do it. And a lot of other sources can give you the baseline check.”

In the meantime, know your child. “No two eyes are the same and everybody’s different,” Walia said. “If you see your child crossing their eyes or squinting, there’s a reason to get it checked out. You have to trust your gut as a parent. If there’s ever a doubt, get it checked.”

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Tags: Featured Story, Health, Infant & Baby, Toddler

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Kern Health jul18 Asthma leader
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