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Myopia children favored by smartphone use, 33 studies confirm – Growth

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Myopia arises more and more precociously and goes hand in hand with greater use of smartphones and tablets from an early age. To remove the last doubts on how children’s eyesight is negatively influenced by ‘digital devices’, which were widely used in the pandemic, is a comparative analysis of 33 studies, published in the Lancet Digital Health journal.

“Myopia is on the rise worldwide, and half of the world’s population will suffer from it by 2050”. This trend, the authors write, “was accompanied by a reduction in the age of onset, an acceleration in the rate of progression, which herald an increase in the global burden of high myopia and its complications in the coming decades.” It is likely that “the myopia epidemic is driven by exposure to risk factors during childhood, present in increasingly urbanized societies” such as “insufficient time spent outdoors and too much time devoted to activities that require a focus close”.

Through a search of the scientific literature, researchers at the University of Melbourne and the National University of Singapore identified 3,325 articles, of which 33 were included in the systematic review, although very heterogeneous from each other based on sample size (between 155 and 19,934 people), and the average age of the participants (3-16 years). Device viewing time was significantly associated with a 30% risk of developing myopia, which rose to 80% if the PC was also used frequently. Children, the researchers explain, “use smartphones and tablets for long uninterrupted periods and at shorter viewing distances than books”. These results are even more important, because “they come after millions of children around the world have spent most of their days teaching at a distance due to the closure of schools during the pandemic”, comments one of the authors, Rupert Bourne, professor of ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University. (HANDLE).

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