A new study shows that one in every two households in Israel has at least one child who wears glasses and that 17% of them are under the age of 6 and 70% are under the age of 14. In addition, close to 60% of children do not spend more than two hours a day outside, in sunlight which in previous studies has been shown to impact the development of myopia.
The study included 833 parents of children 6-18 years old. The study showed that 62% of the children who wear glasses watch digital programs for more than three hours a day. The study also showed that less than half of the parents were aware of the future risks of children having myopia.
Prof. David Tzadok, the Head of our Ophthalmology Department explained, “Many studies demonstrate a long-term relationship between working for long stretches in from of a screen and developing myopia…For example, among the ultra-Orthodox who read for many hours straight, from a very early age, the incidence of myopia is very high. Other studies have shown a link between a lack of exposure to sunlight and myopia development. In China, the number of incidences of myopia seemed to slow down when children were taken out of school in the middle of the day to play in the yard…It all seems to be connected to working for extended periods of time in front of a screen. This activity [focusing on screens] which involves working close-up happens in an environment with artificial lighting without exposure to sunlight.”
It is recommended to limit children’s screen-time and to break up their screen time to no more than 20 minutes at a time and that they should try and spend more time outside.