We’ll explore how everything is converging to create a myopic generation. Last year, the pandemic forced people out of their jobs and into their homes. More professionals and students than ever are using computers and smart devices to attend their classes and perform their jobs. This, in turn, isn’t the best setup for some workers, but it’s the best way to avoid the virus.
How much screen time do people spend?
On average, adults spend about 11 hours looking at some screen. In contrast, children spend at least six hours in front of a television or a computer. This statistic was a decade ago, and now the pandemic has far more time for everyone to increase that number dramatically.
The recommended screen time for adults and children is two hours. The reason is that prolonged exposure to screen time results in blurry vision and tired eyes.
What will happen if you spend too much time on a screen?
Aside from temporary blurry vision and tired eyes, spending too much time on a screen also results in eventual nearsightedness. Recent studies have proven the direct relationship between the average number of screen time in hours and the number of nearsighted cases. The studies conducted in China, Taiwan, and Denmark, focused on children and teens using handheld devices and their risk for developing myopia.
Myopia is not the only disease that will affect people who spend too much time in front of the screens. If left untreated, myopia increases the risk for a retinal detachment. The eyes compensate with blurry vision by thickening the lens in front of the cornea, and as a result, will put unnecessary strain on the retina.
It’s not just the lens that’s going to be elongated. The whole eyeball will have a shape similar to an egg, and this puts significant strain on the retina. If a retinal tear exists, this will likely lead to a retinal detachment. The subsequent retinal detachment will lead to blindness.
How many people suffer from screen-time-related myopic eye diseases?
In 2010, an estimated 27% of myopia cases’ global population and 2.8% of high myopia cases. The latter is more prone to retinal tearing as it has a longer axial elongation. This number should have doubled in the past decade, but good thing the increase was only 10%. The majority of the cases are either children and teens or the elderly.
There is no established number of cases for people who have myopia as a cause of excessive screen time. However, it is established that there is a high correlation between myopia and excessive screen time. We are still waiting for answers from scientists and health experts on the exact figure of screen time-related myopia.
How is Myopia treated?
Lasers can treat myopia surgically. Lasik is a popular corrective procedure, and it costs about $2000 per eye. If that hurts your wallet, go to an ophthalmologist or optometrist and ask them how many corrective lenses cost.
Early detection of myopia is essential. If left untreated, it can increase your chances of getting a retinal tear, or worse, a retinal detachment. Retinal detachment almost always guarantees permanent vision loss.
How do I know if I have myopia?
If you’ve found yourself squinting while reading, then chances are you’re already in the early stages of myopia. If you also find distant objects blurry, this is also a sign. Alternatively, you can have your eyes checked by a reputable eye clinic.
Lenscrafters have a list of their diagnostic test prices to rule out if you have myopia. If you’ve been advised to wear prescription glasses, visit your nearest eye doctor for more information.
Below is a list of the signs and symptoms of myopia:
- Squinting eyes when reading text or looking at tiny objects
- Distant objects are blurry or hard to see
- Rubbing eyes frequently
- Children or adults will often sit closer to the television or computer screen.
- Headaches (although this can happen to people with astigmatism)
How can I avoid becoming Myopic?
There are several ways to avoid myopia. Most of them involve lessening the amount of time you spend on your screen.
Here are some things you can do to avoid myopia:
- Minimize the time you spend on your screen (2 hours maximum is ideal)
- Spending more time outdoors (you will be able to rest your eyes by staring farther)
- Increased exposure to daylight helps your eyes process light better.
- Proactively distancing yourself from screens or reading material.
If you’re a parent, you must introduce other activity forms to your children. It’s easy to tell kids to behave by giving them a screen to watch videos on, but it does more harm than good in the long run. If you don’t want your child to be a part of a generation with myopia, take them outside and let them see the world from another perspective.