In a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at The University of Western Australia, it has been discovered that mobile phone use does not contribute to short-sightedness, contrary to popular belief. However, the study identified a different culprit behind the myopia epidemic: computer screens.
The study found that individuals who spent six or more hours per day on a computer experienced faster deterioration in their short-sightedness compared to those who had limited computer use. This phenomenon, known as “peripheral de-focus,” occurs when the brain registers that more short-distance work is involved while focusing on a large screen, thereby triggering the eyes to become more short-sighted.
Contrary to previous assumptions, time spent on mobile phones or tablets had no impact on the development of myopia. The researchers explained that when looking at a mobile phone, the peripheral vision, except for the small phone screen, is further away and relatively blurred. This signals to the brain that objects are generally far away, eliminating the need for the eye to become more short-sighted.
The findings were derived from data collected from 600 young adults as part of the Raine Study, one of the world’s largest and longest-running studies on human health. Optometry Australia’s Vision Index also revealed that the prevalence of myopia has been steadily increasing, with respondents reporting a rise in myopia cases by three points to 40% in the two years prior.
Since the onset of the pandemic, concerns regarding eye health have surged, with 42% of respondents reporting an increase in screen time due to Covid. This increase in myopia cases is troubling because it can lead to various eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retina problems.
Dr. Samantha Sze-Yee Lee, the senior research fellow from the Lions Eye Institute, expressed hope that these findings would aid scientists in developing strategies to manage the detrimental effects of computer use on eyesight. She emphasized the importance of spending more time outdoors since it is known to be protective against myopia.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, understanding the risk factors involved in the development of short-sightedness is crucial. This new study sheds light on the role of computer screens while dispelling the myth that mobile phone use contributes to the myopia epidemic. Further research and possible interventions are needed to address this growing public health concern.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Does using a mobile phone or tablet contribute to short-sightedness?
A: No, the study conducted by The University of Western Australia found that mobile phone or tablet use does not contribute to short-sightedness. The phenomenon of “peripheral de-focus” suggests that the brain registers objects viewed on mobile phones as further away, eliminating the need for the eye to become more short-sighted.
Q: What causes short-sightedness?
A: The study identified computer screens as a potential cause of short-sightedness. Individuals who spend six or more hours per day on a computer experience faster deterioration in their short-sightedness compared to those with limited computer use.
Q: Can myopia lead to other eye conditions?
A: Yes, myopia can lead to various eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, and retina problems. Understanding the risk factors associated with myopia is essential for preventing such complications.
Q: Has the prevalence of myopia been increasing?
A: Yes, according to Optometry Australia’s Vision Index, the prevalence of myopia has been steadily increasing. The index reported a rise in myopia cases by three points to 40% in the two years prior to the study.
Q: Is spending time outdoors protective against myopia?
A: Yes, spending more time outdoors is known to be protective against myopia. The study highlights the importance of outdoor activities in preventing the development of short-sightedness.