A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed some of the factors that can contribute to the risk of a child developing myopia, revealing that children born in the summer and those who spend more time in computer games have an increased risk of developing the condition.
The study, King's College London, looked at 1,991 twins with an average age of 16.7 years, all of whom participated in a long-term study of the early development of Tvins (TEDS).
The researchers collected data on demographic, social, economic, educational and behavioral factors in doubles at different points between two and 16 years, in order to detect critical stages of child and eye development.
Opticians are asked to provide information on a myopic taken from eye tests, with parents and teachers requesting to fill in questionnaires to provide information on other potentially relevant factors.
Findings, published in the British ophthalmology journal, showed that a quarter (26%) of twins were short-sighted. The average age of children with myopia began to wear glasses to correct the condition for 11 years.
The researchers also found that during the summer the factors that were most strongly associated with the development of myopia, the number of hours of children who spent playing computer games and the level of mother's education were born.
The team explained that, as British children born in the summer months, they started a school in the younger age of those born in the winter months, and they are starting to work early, for example with books, which can accelerate the growth of the eye, which causes short-sightedness. Most hours of playing computer games can be associated with myopia due to close work and because more time spent in play in prisons means less time outdoors, a factor that was previously associated with an increased risk of myopia.
The results also showed that fertility treatment was associated with a 25% -30% lower risk of developing myopia. The team suggested that, since children born as a result of fertility treatment are often born less and slightly premature, they may have a certain level of developmental delay, which can lead to shorter eye length and less myopia.
Miopia, also known as short-sightedness or close vision, is a state in which an eye can not focus light correctly, which means that close objects look clear, but distant things become blurred. It can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, as well as laser surgery, but it is associated with a greater risk of visual impairment and loss of vision in later life.
The situation is increasing more and more, with 4.758 billion people around the world envisioned by 2050 to be affected, compared with 1.950 billion in 2010.
In related editors, doctors from the Singapore National Eye Center, the Center for Eye Research, Melbourne, Australia and the University of Melbourne, pointed out that the study used data gathered before a huge increase in digital media, which can also play a role.
"The increased screen time of the device (DST) derived from games, social media and digital entertainment has led to increased sedentary behavior, poor nutrition and lack of outdoor activities," they said. "The use and misuse of smart devices, especially in our pediatric population, must be carefully monitored to solve the emerging phenomena of digital myopia."