Nearsightedness, or myopia, cases are increasing among today’s youth due to the prevalence of digital devices.

Dr. Premilla Banwait, at UnitedHealthcare Vision, said it’s concerning to see cases on the rise.

“Children are on their devices – smartphones, iPads, tablets, at much younger ages and for many more hours throughout the day than we used to see, maybe a decade or so ago,” she said. “This definitely is impacting the overall eye health and it leads to other eye health issues later down the line when they’re older.”

Banwait said to use blue-light-filtering technology as many smartphones now include a night mode feature, which adjusts the screen’s setting to help filter out blue light.

“There are things known as myopia management, kind of myopia control management techniques that eye doctors can help you get involved in that can really limit and slow down the progression of myopia,” Banwait said.

Nearsightedness is the ability to see far-away objects clearly and is linked to a greater risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

“I think Americans are now spending on average 13 hours today on devices compared to maybe a decade ago where it was more seven to 10 hours a day,” Banwait said. “So, just that increase alone is definitely contributing to a lot more eye health issues that we’re seeing today.”

She said that specialized screen protectors for computers can feature those same filtering technologies.

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