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How Excessive Screen Time Could Result In Blindness

Photo from Kelly Sikkema’s Instagram

How Excessive Screen Time Could Result In Blindness

By Movieguide® Contributor

As people spend more of their daily on screens, rates of myopia, a condition that can eventually result in blindness, are increasing.

“When our eyes spend more time focusing on near objects, like phones, screens or even paperbacks, it makes our eyeballs elongate, which prevents the eye from bending light the way it should. This elongation increases nearsightedness, called myopia,” the Guardian reported.

“The longer the eyeball becomes, the worse vision gets,” Wired added.

Eye surgeon Pei-Chang Wu’s concern over this trend grew as he began operating on younger patients. “In 2016, Wu performed a scleral buckle surgery—fastening a belt around the eye to fix the retina into place—on a 14-year-old girl, a student at an elite high school in Kaohsiung. Another patient, a prominent programmer who had worked for Yahoo, suffered two severe retinal detachments and was blind in both eyes by age 29,” Wired reported.

As this phenomenon continues to explode, Professor Rupert Bourne from Anglia Ruskin University said, “Around half the global population is expected to have myopia by 2050, so it is a health concern that is escalating quickly.”

In Japan, China and Taiwan, high myopia is the leading cause of blindness, per Wired.

“If those trends continue, it’s likely that millions more people around the world will go blind much earlier in life than they—or the societies they live in—are prepared for,” the outlet added.

However, Australian researcher Ian Morgan found that kids who spent more time outside were less likely to develop myopia.

“We knew that light stimulated the release of dopamine from the retina, and we knew that dopamine could control the rate at which the eye elongated,” he said. “So once we had the actual epidemiological evidence that being outdoors was important, the mechanism was, to us, very obvious.”

Without receiving the necessary sunlight, the eye will continue to elongate until myopia occurs.

Wu found the same results as Morgan: the more time people spent outside, the less likely they were to get myopia. Because of this, he developed the Tian-Tian 120 program, which advises that kids spend 120 minutes outside each day.

“The results of the Tian-Tian 120 program were immediate and impressive. After years of trending upwards, myopia prevalence among Taiwanese primary school children peaked in 2011 at 50 percent, and then started to come down. Within a few years, it was at 46.1 percent,” Wired reported.

Movieguide® reported:

Myopia in young people is skyrocketing, according to a new study that points the finger at smart phones.

The National Eye Institute found that “about 41.6 percent of Americans [in 2017] are nearsighted, up from 25 percent in 1971,” and most of the cases are children. 

“We’re talking about [children who are] age four or five years old becoming myopic,” said Dr. Maria Liu, an associate professor of clinical optometry at The University of California, Berkeley.

In countries like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, “the rate of myopia among young adults is over 80 percent,” according to EuroNews.

Experts agree that the leading cause is too much screen time. 

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.