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Youth risk eye problems from too much screen time

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Doctors in Japan have warned that children are at risk of developing serious complications with their eyes due to spending too much time in front of screens and smartphones.

Some of the issues that too much screen time is causing is Esotropia and acute internal strabismus. Esotropia is where one or both of your eyes turn inwards and can’t return back to normal. Acute internal strabismus has similar cross-eyed symptoms but people that suffer with it normally experience double vision affecting their ability to complete normal tasks.

The Japanese Association of Paediatric Ophthalmology and the Japanese Association for Strabismus and Amblyopia completed a joint research project looking into the effects using a smartphone for significant periods of time has on the youth.

In January and February 2019 over 1000 members of the 2 associations were surveyed in which doctors were asked if they had examined any patients with acute internal strabismus aged between 5 to 35 in 2018. 40% of the doctors who responded said they had treated someone with cross-eyed issues with 80% of these doctors stating that for the patients they had treated for acute internal strabismus they suspected the cause to be from too much smartphone use.

Nearly a quarter of the doctors who responded to the survey and treated patients for acute internal strabismus said that the symptoms improved significantly after the patients stopped using the electronic devices.

The significance in these figures is that according to Miho Sato, the president of the Japanese Association for Strabismus and Amblyopia (JASA), acute internal strabismus used to be such a rare disease that an eye doctor would examine ‘one patient every few years’.

Miho also states that the reason for the onset of eye conditions such as Esotropia and acute internal strabismus is due to people bringing the smartphones and devices right up to their face when using them. As the eye tries to focus on the screen the eyes draw in close together which if continued for a long period of time will result in the non-dominant eye struggling to return to its normal position.

Sources:

  1. Doctors examine relationship between kids’ screen time and misaligned eye conditions.

  2. Eye doctors warn youth risk going cross-eyed from smartphone use.

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