Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Smartphones are being linked to an increase in myopia (short-sightedness) among Brits. Laser eye surgeon, David Allamby has named the condition “screen sightedness” and says it has caused a massive 35% increase among patients with myopia since the invention of the smartphone back in 1997.
Mr Allamby is also the Founder of Focus Clinics and is concerned that this problem could increase by 50% in the next ten years, especially among teenagers and young adults, who are spending increasingly more time staring at screens.
Around half of Britons have a smartphone and the average owner spends two hours a day staring at the screen. It’s not just smartphones that are purely to blame, but increased hours spent browsing the internet, watching television and playing games on tablets and computers also contribute.
Research uncovered that most people hold a book or newspaper about 40cm’s away from their face for comfortable reading, whereas on a smartphone the distance was considerably shorter, between 30cm to as little as 18cm.
Traditionally myopia genes would stabilised in the early 20’s but increased smartphone use is preventing these genes from doing so, and Mr Allamby says they are now seeing myopia progression as late in the 30’s and even 40’s.
Mr Allamby said: "If things continue as they are, I predict that 40-50% of 30 year olds could have Myopia by 2033 as a result of smartphones and lifestyles in front of screens – an epidemic we call Screen-Sightedness. People need to ensure they limit screen time wherever possible even by going outside without their phone for a period of time each day (getting out into the sunshine has been shown to reduce the progression of short-sight), and also seriously consider the age at which they give their children a smartphone."
By 2014 it is forecast that 18 to 24 years olds will be the biggest market for smartphones, closing followed by those aged 12 to 17.
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