For many children using digital devices is a normal part of their everyday lives and they will use computers and hand-held devices at school and at home. This systematic review collates this published research to illuminate current understanding on the association between the time children spend on digital devices and incidence, prevalence or progression of myopia.
Children are accessing screens at school, around the home and for personal entertainment at younger and younger ages. At the same time, there has been an unprecedented increase in myopia in children, with higher numbers and earlier age of onset. Read about what we do and don’t know about this link; the impact of screen time on binocular vision and dry eye in kids, and guidelines for advice to parents.
The visual demand of concentrating on close-up tasks like reading and studying are thought to be a driving force for increased myopia in children. To better understand this relationship the authors consolidated data from several studies to quantify the effect of near work activities on myopia in children and discover any association there may be between them.
Pre-myopes can be readily identified, and best practice dictates that we should offer some form of intervention to help delay the onset of myopia. In this case we discuss the features of a pre-myope and an example in a 5 year old patient who satisfies the refractive criteria for pre-myopia, and has a strong family history of myopia.
As technology evolves the next big change is likely to be Virtual Reality. Could we expect Virtual Reality to be better for myopia than our screens and smartphones of today? How will the artificially simulated visual environment of VR impact on children’s visual development? Let’s explore what we know and what we’re yet to learn.