Your mother always told you that watching too much television was bad for your eyes. And she was right. New Australian research has found that that spending too much time in front of the television could cause lasting damage to a child's eyes and may even lead to health risks later in life.

The study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology was conducted by researchers at Australia's Sydney University. The researchers evaluated 1,492 six year olds randomly selected from 34 schools throughout Sydney. The children’s parents completed surveys about the amount of time their children spent exercising and the amount of time they spent in front of a TV or computer.

Then they examined the children's eyes. They found that the children who watched the most TV had smaller blood vessels in their eyes than children who watched the least amount. In addition to the potential damage to eye health, these smaller blood vessels may damage a child's overall health later in life. In adults, smaller blood vessels are indicators of increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.  

It's still not clear exactly how and if TV time could lead to heart disease via damage to the eyes. But what is clear is that watching too much television changes a child's eyes at a time when they are most susceptible to damage. And that is reason enough to turn it off.

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