Sep 4 2013

Youthful Myopia Increase Due to Handheld Electronics?

The National Eye Institute (NEI) found a 66% increase in diagnosed myopia in patients aged 12 to 54.  (Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where close objects appear clearly, but distant objects appear blurry.)  The NEI study compared myopia rates in 1999 – 2004 compared with 1971-2.  A new Myopia Control Clinic will open on September 8 at UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry is a response to the phenomenon.  The clinic’s director, Dr. Maria Liu attributes part of the increase to overuse of games and texting on handheld electronics at an early age when children’s eyes are still developing.  Liu noted, “The problem with smartphones and iPads is that kids often hold them closer to their eyes than they would a book, and they can become absorbed for hours at a time.”

According to the NEI report, severe myopia is twice as prevalent among those aged 10 – 39 compared with those over 60 who grew up before computers and handheld electronics existed.  Berkeley’s Myopia Control Clnic recommends ten-minute breaks from every hour of work at a conventional computer screen and encouraging children to spend time outdoors focusing on distant sights.

Coinciding with preparations to open the new myopia clinic, UC Berkeley hosted the International Myopia conference from August 18 – 22, “Reshaping Myopia Control”.  Myopia specialists from around the world presented research related to the NEI findings, treatment and prevention.

Read more in The Daily Cal.

One Response to “Youthful Myopia Increase Due to Handheld Electronics?”

  1. The clinic should be for parents that pacify their children with itoys. The children should be outside playing instead of inside eating and gaming.

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