THEY MAY save us from battling busy high streets in search of Christmas presents, but an increasing reliance on online shopping using tablets and laptops is proving costly in other ways, health experts claim.
One in five GPs and opticians believe that an overuse of computer technology is one of the main causes of a rise in eye health problems recorded in the UK over the last decade.
The research, commissioned by Bradford-based Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire, found that nearly half - 45 per cent - of opticians say they have seen an increase in technology-related eye problems in the past five years.
And while three in every four adults agreed that over-use of technology damages eyesight, parents let their children spend an average of two hours and 54 minutes every day using games consoles, computers or tablets.
Some 30 per cent of parents allow their children to spend three to four hours each day using computer screens and one in ten admitted to allowing five to six hours a day. The figures exclude time spent by children watching television and completing homework online.
Rob Morris, medical director at Optegra, said: “It is clear from our research that a worrying number of British children are having far more screen time than recommended, which we know can lead to conditions like eye strain and dry eye.
“We would urge parents to ensure their children take regular breaks from the tech presents they receive this Christmas. If their children have symptoms of sore, dry eyes they should take advice from an optician.”