“Is My iPhone Making Me Nearsighted?” Some Thoughts On The Coming ‘Myopia Epidemic’

“Is My iPhone Making Me Nearsighted?” Some Thoughts On The Coming ‘Myopia Epidemic’

What Is Myopia?

Myopia is a vision issue that causes objects far away to appear blurry while objects nearby remain clearly in focus, which is why it is also called nearsightedness. Myopia is the result of the eye growing too long and not allowing light to focus clearly on the back of the eye (retina). Typically, myopia starts during youth and worsens as you age at varying degrees and speeds.

What Are Symptoms Of Myopia?

Myopia Epidemic Eye Rubbing

Symptoms of myopia include:

  1. Squinting
  2. Blurry Vision At A Distance
  3. Constant Blinking
  4. Tired Eyes
  5. Dry Eyes
  6. Eye Rubbing
  7. Headaches
  8. Children’s School Grades May Drop
  9. Children May Fall Behind In School

In truth, a comprehensive eye exam with an eye care professional is the only proven way to diagnose myopia. 

Left untreated, severe myopia can lead to more serious eye conditions such as glaucoma or even retinal detachment.

If you believe you may have myopia, we encourage you to call us at (336) 422-713, contact us online, or schedule an eye exam online today.

What Are Causes Of Myopia?

  1. Myopia can be hereditary (passed down from one or both parents) or
  2. Develop as a result of  environmental factors such as reading and using hand-held electronic devices or looking at computer monitors for hours on end.

Historically, eye growth slowed and eventually stopped during the late teen years. However, that’s no longer the case. Eye growth seems to be continuing through adulthood. 

Increasingly, we are surrounded by electronic devices and screens that get and keep our attention throughout our waking hours. Some experts believe that in addition to screen time, people are spending less time outdoors where sight-lines are much longer allowing the strain on the eyes to reduce naturally. Our eyes are simply not designed for constant focusing at close distances, and this is becoming a significant issue for the eyesight of people of all ages, including children. 

What Is The Myopia Epidemic?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is starting to affect more and more of the world’s population. It is the most common vision problem, and the numbers are getting worse at an increasing rate. Over the past decade, the cases of myopia have increased dramatically. As a result, it is estimated that 42% of the population has myopia and researchers predict that 50% of the population will be myopic by 2050. This is the “myopia epidemic.” You can read more about it here: https://nei.nih.gov/content/myopia-close-look-efforts-turn-back-growing-problem 

Myopia Epidemic

The myopia epidemic in China are staggering. In the 1950s, only 10-20% of China’s population was nearsighted. Today, it is estimated that 90% of the teenage population is myopic.

What Can I Do About Myopia?

  1. Nearsightedness is treatable for most with eyeglasses and contacts prescribed by your eye doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms of myopia, schedule an eye exam with us today!
  2. Take an active role in protecting you eyesight: All adults and children alike should observe the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes you look at a digital screen, you should take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. By looking at objects 20 feet or more away for small periods of time, you are allowing the muscles in your eyes to relax, which reduces eye strain and lowers the risk of myopia.
  3. For children specifically, decreasing screen time and playing outside are the best ways to help your child lower their chance of developing myopia. In fact, outdoor time for people of all ages is a great way to minimize the chances of myopia.
  4. Lastly (but not least!), you should also schedule regular eye exams for you and your family so that your vision and eye health are checked and monitored over time by an optometrist. Contact our Eye Point Optometry’s High Point office or call (336) 422-7136 to schedule an appointment today.