SINGAPORE, October 5, 2021 / PRNewswire / – A major global study linking the use of smart digital devices (smartphones and tablets) with myopia in Children was published today by an international collaboration led by researchers in Singapore.
The study – a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis – also included global experts in eye health and the epidemiology of Australia, the United Kingdom and China, and was published today in The Lancet Digital Health, one of the world’s leading peer-reviewed medical journals. The authors used a benchmark approach to collect all of the research ever published on the link between smart device screen exposure and myopia. After analyzing and statistically combining the available studies, they revealed the most compelling evidence to date involving digital devices, in particular screen time, as a risk factor for myopia in children.
The study authors reviewed over 3,000 published scientific articles using strict inclusion criteria and found thirty-three articles from fourteen countries across Asia and Europe who investigated a link between digital devices and myopia for inclusion in the analysis. They found that the majority of these studies reported that exposure to digital screens (including longer periods of screen time and an earlier age of first screen exposure in children) was significantly associated at a higher risk of myopia, an increase in the severity of myopia and greater elongation of the eye which is the major anatomical change that results in the onset of myopia. When combined using statistical modeling, the results of all available studies have shown that, overall, high levels of screen time on a smart device are associated with a risk of myopia. almost 30% higher, and when excessive screen time was added, it increased to almost 80%.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Joshua foreman of University of Melbourne Hopes that the publication of these findings in one of the world’s leading medical journals will be a call to action for more research into the effects of digital screens on the health of our eyes. âIt has long been recognized that too much time spent on near vision tasks and a lack of time outdoors in childhood are the main drivers of the worsening global myopia crisis. Mobile devices are a relatively new addition to our lives, and our research has highlighted emerging evidence implicating these devices as a key risk factor for myopia. “
Dr Foreman is particularly concerned about the implications of these findings in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, saying, âBlockages around the world have forced more children inside and onto screens than ever before, and studies are already convincingly showing that this is causing an increase in what was previously described by our group as a new phenomenon. called digital myopia, which unfortunately will occur. putting millions of people at risk for eye-threatening complications later in life. “
Associate Professor Mohamed dirani, who is the founding general manager of the Singaporeeye health technology startup, Plano, and lead author of the study, agrees, saying: âMyopia is a growing global problem and this collaboration with top experts around the world has highlighted the urgent need to act as a global community to implement strategies at all levels to reduce the burden Through education and awareness, innovative solutions that help parents control their children’s screen time and ensure that children undergo regular and timely eye exams, we can intervene early to prevent myopia.
Assoc Professor Dirani believes that government policy plays a key role. He said: âThe publication of this study is timely with the introduction of Plano in China, where the government has just introduced strict regulations to reduce screen time in children to fight the myopia crisis. “
Plano plans to continue its collaborative work to develop and implement educational and technological interventions to combat the global myopia epidemic and advocate for policy change around the world to ensure that governments and providers Eye Care Centers are implementing measures to help children reduce their screen time and reduce their risk of myopia.
Link to the full publication:
Plano was developed with a clear objective; to save eyesight and empower lives. With a culture of disruptive thinking founded on genuine scientific research, Plano promotes the use of innovative technologies to provide a solution to alleviate the public health, societal and economic problems posed by excessive use of devices. Founding CEO of Plano, associate professor Mohamed dirani, has dedicated his life to the study and research of myopia, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and Honorary Principal Investigator at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and the Center for Eye Research Australia (CERA ). www.plano.co
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