Smartphones are causing a 'visual health crisis' in China

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Smartphones are causing a 'visual health crisis' in China


East Asia has been gripped by an unprecedented rise in myopia, also known as short-sightedness. Sixty years ago, 10–20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Today, up to 80% of teenagers and young adults are. This article in The Business Insider Australia looks at the correlation between the increase in smartphone use and the rates of myopia.

Other parts of the world are also affected by increasing rates, and the future predictions are frightening - by year 2050 half of the world's population could suffer from myopia. For many years, the scientific consensus held that myopia was largely down to genes. Studies in the 1960s showed that the condition was more common among genetically identical twins than non-identical ones, suggesting that susceptibility is strongly influenced by DNA. However, genetic changes happen too slowly to explain the soaring rates in myopia that have since been experienced all over the world.

New research now suggests that the increases in myopia are widely considered to be driven by environmental factors, principally lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near-work activities. Richer countries are likely to have more people using and playing on screens.

The modern rise in myopia is mirrored by a trend for children in many countries to spend more time engaged in reading, studying, computer use and smartphone screens. This is particularly the case in East Asian countries, where the high value placed on educational performance is driving children to spend longer in school and on their studies.

The solution - children playing and spending more time outdoors and away from wireless device radiation. They will not only be getting the benefits of Earthing and less exposure to EMF's, but exposure to sunlight which seems to be a big factor in preventing visual impairment. This study was undertaken in Taiwan at a school where teachers were asked to send children outside for all 80 minutes of their break time instead of giving them the choice to stay inside. After one year, doctors had diagnosed myopia in 8% of the children, compared with 18% at a nearby school.