OK, this is a serious health threat, if true

It seems our children are growing up with vision problems caused by smartphones and similar electronic devices.  The New York Post reports:

More people are suffering from myopia (short-sightedness) now than 10 years ago, according to eye health expert Andrew Bastawrous, who said that the amount of time spent staring at screens might be to blame.

. . .

Eyeball growth slows down in your late teens but there is evidence that younger generations’ peepers are continuing to grow.

“The initial theory for this is that people are doing more near-plane reading activity with smartphones which is encouraging the eye to become myopic to meet that environmental need,” Bastawrous told Wired.

“There’s also evidence that suggests this is happening too quickly for it to be purely an environmental or genetic response.”

“More recent data suggests a more important factor has been that we spend less time outdoors than we used to.”

He added that in some cases like Singapore, more than 90 percent of pupils are leaving school short-sighted.

It follows warnings that British kids face a life of wearing specs because they don’t go outside enough.

. . .

Bastawrous added … “Many people no longer spend time looking at the stars and the mountains, they’re looking at screens more often instead.”

There’s more at the link.

If the rapid spread of electronic screens, large and small, is doing this, we’re effectively evolving ourselves into less healthy lives.  I suspect the only answer will be to force kids to go outside every so often, whether they want to or not, to make them develop healthier viewing habits.  However, that won’t help for adults – so what do we do to solve their problem?



  1. In his prequel to The Foundation series, Isaac Asimov posited the central world as being entirely one structure. The residents were forced to take elevators to the top, to visit an open-air observation deck … once a year. It terrified most of them.

  2. Unhealthy? Not necessarily. I talked to an optometrist about this, when I first had to get reading glasses. He had an interesting view that your body is largely just adapting to what it thinks you need.

    Myopia has been increasing for a long time. We have been moving from agricultural to office work for a long time. Smart phones are now taking this farther. According to his view, myopia is just our bodies emphasizing our vision where we seem to need it. When our lenses stiffen with age, people with myopia will still be able to see up close. People with "normal" vision will only be able to see farther away.

    That's neither healthy nor unhealthy. It's just our bodies being adapting to the lives we lead.

  3. Evolution=Survival of the fittest
    If today's life and work consists of staring at screens and displays, myopic people are the fittest. So what?

  4. "so what do we do to solve their problem?"

    Not our job! Adults need to solve their OWN problems.

    I've got enough on my plate to keep me busy without looking for people with problems to solve.


  5. "When our lenses stiffen with age, people with myopia will still be able to see up close. People with "normal" vision will only be able to see farther away."

    Nope. Myopia does not prevent losing near sight as you age. As I get closer to 50 I have to use a magnifying glass more often than not to read close up small print. That is why they make bi-focals.

  6. It is correctable. I wear glasses but have to take them off if I look at my phone. Otherwise my vision will be off for a while. Using +lenses for up close stuff helps too.

  7. The rather old fashioned "eye exercises" can largely prevent this sort of problem. Sad that our modern, sedentary lifestyle does not provide adequate exercise for our children. Parents need to realize that, and arrange scheduled exercise daily for their children

  8. at one time it was that reading books (especially indoors) damaged your eyes

    then it was that watching TV damaged your eyes

    then it was using computers damaged your eyes

    now it's using phones/tablets damages your eyes

    either they have been crying wolf, or it's a matter that everything is bad, so unless they can quantify which is worse, you can't make any judgment about what you should and shouldn't do

  9. If you watch this lecture, and then think about how all this cell phone use is the reverse of what he is suggesting- (i.e. training your eyes to be weaker rather than stronger), you'll begin to see what's happening in the larger population:


  10. What's the difference between electronics and the hundreds (if not thousands) of books I read as a kid?

  11. Good. If something is marketed as "smart" that should all anyone needds to know to know its anything but

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