Screen time contributing to increased nearsightedness among children, experts say

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NEW YORK — Children are being diagnosed with nearsightedness at an increasing rate, doctors say, and the trend has been linked to screen time.

A recent study of children in Hong Kong, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that spending less time outside and more time looking at screens during the pandemic contributed to an increase in nearsightedness.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffry Dello Russo said he’s also seeing an increase in myopia, commonly called nearsightedness, in his patients between the ages of 6 and 8 years old.

“It’s actually the lack of natural light … As children’s eyes are not mature like adults and focusing for long amounts of time up close strains their eyes,” he said.

One out of every three people with myopia could see worrisome long-term effects leading to glaucoma, cataracts or retinal detachment, according to Russo.

While there is no cure for nearsightedness, you can slow the progression by making sure children get more outdoor time and less screen time.

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