- David Allamby says there has been a 35% increase in the number of people with advancing myopia since the launch of smartphones in 1997
- He believes the problem could increase by 50% in the next ten years
- The problem is so common he has given it a name – ‘screen sightedness’
- 50% of 30-year-olds could have the problem by 2033 due to smartphones
Rates of short sightedness among young people have soared because of smartphones, a leading laser eye surgeon has claimed. David Allamby, Founder of Focus Clinics, says there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia (short sightedness) since the launch of smartphones in 1997. He has warned the problem could increase by 50 per cent in the next ten years. Mr Allamby thinks the problem is so widespread that he has dubbed it ‘screen sightedness’.He says that half of Britons own smartphones and that they spend an average of two hours a day using them. This, along with time spent using computers and watching television, is putting children and young people at risk of permanently damaging their sight. New research found that the average smartphone user holds the handset 30 cm from their face – with some people holding it just 18cm away – compared to newspapers and books, which are held 40cm away from the eyes. According to Mr Allamby, excessive screen watching at close proximity keeps the genes that control myopia activated well beyond the age that short-sighted would historically have stabilised – about 21. Myopia used to stop developing in people’s early 20s but now it is now seen progressing throughout the 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Mr Allamby said: ‘If things continue as they are, I predict that 40 to 50 per cent of 30-year-olds could have myopia by 2033 as a result of smartphones and lifestyles in front of screens – an epidemic we call screen sightedness.
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