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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Opticians warn: children are increasingly myopic and at an earlier age

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Efe. Barcelona - Actualizado: 27/05/2019 15:38h

Children between 7 and 12 years old now have half a diopter more than myopia compared to university students a generation ago, according to the opticians, who attribute to a more sedentary lifestyle and the intensive use of mobile phones that young people are increasingly more myopic and at younger ages.

The generation of digital natives is more short-sighted in graduation and from younger ages because the young people of today (66.5% of women and 74.6% of men) spend less than 7 hours a week to enjoy the outdoors , says the optical director of the Cottet firm, Fabio Delgado, who says that these data "keep myopia in the crosshairs of the scientific and clinical community."

Experts in optics warn that these lifestyles, little outdoor and much watching screens, are damaging the visual health of young people and, to a greater extent, are affecting women, whose rates of myopia are higher.

Delgado considers that in the case of the generation of digital natives, if these myopia continue to develop without control, in many cases they will reach risk levels, being potential causes of pathologies in the adult stage (more than 6 diopters).

Delgado warns that "myopia is considered a risk factor for the early onset of cataracts or the development of glaucoma, which shows no symptoms until it has lost 40% of the visual field and is unrecoverable."

In this regard, he recalls that "Ophthalmology", a scientific journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, made a study on the increasing worldwide prevalence and evolution trend of myopia and high myopia and projected that about 5,000 million people will be myopic in 2050: 4.758 million people with myopia (49.8% of the world population); and 938 million people with high myopia (9.8% of the world population).

The optician of the Ophthalmology Service of the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona, ​​Enrique Jiménez, also corroborates that there are other studies, articles and publications that say that at the end of this decade approximately one third of the population will suffer from myopia.

"The main cause of the increase in myopia is the growth of the eyeball, its axial length. But this increase can not be attributed solely to genetic reasons, there are other reasons of great importance such as the excess hours that children spend in tasks of near vision before devices such as computers, tablets or mobile phones, or the lack of exposure of children to spaces open and sunlight, "Jiménez insists.

"The solution is easier than we think, it simply consists of controlling more time spent by children in tasks of near vision, especially with electronic devices, and spend more time in open spaces with sunlight. It will be necessary that the rhythm of life of the century that touches us allows it to us ", emphasizes Jiménez.

Opticians also recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet and sedentary lifestyle, in addition to specific exercises for the eyes and undergo periodic check-ups, which are recommended to be annual since childhood.

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