Half of the world could need glasses by 2050 due to screen time

By Joe Morgan & Emily Withers

An increase in screen time means that half the population of the world may need glasses in the next 30 years.

Smart devices and computer screens have been blamed for the increased risk of children and adults becoming short-sighted.

The Mirror reported that researches have found a link between using a phone or tablet and a 30% increased risk of short-sightedness.

When smart device usage is in addition to the excessive use of a computer, this increased risk is around 80%.

Read more: 'Worst cold ever' might actually be Covid, suggests lead scientist.

Researchers think that this could mean that by 2050, half of the population of the world- an estimated five billion people- will be short sighted.

The authors of the study examined more than 3,000 studies investigating smart device exposure and myopia in people aged between three months old and 33 years old.

In 2019, the World Health Organisation recommended children under two should not have any screen time and children aged two to five should have no more than one hour a day of sedentary screen time.

But in the same year, a CensusWide survey of 2,000 British families found children were spending an average of 23 hours a week staring at screens.

Screen time has also increased amongst all age groups since the start of the pandemic.

People working from home have been reliant on screens since March last year, causing an unavoidable increase in risk of eyesight problems.

Professor Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology in the Vision and Eye Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, told the Mirror: "Around half the global population is expected to have myopia by 2050, so it is a health concern that is escalating quickly.

"Our study is the most comprehensive yet on this issue and shows a potential link between screen time and myopia in young people.

"This research comes at a time when our children have been spending more time than ever looking at screens for long periods, due to school closures, and it is clear that urgent research is needed to further understand how exposure to digital devices can affect our eyes and vision.

"We also know that people underestimate their own screen time, so future studies should use objective measures to capture this information."

The study was published in The Lancet Digital Health.

Get the latest stories to your inbox by signing up to our newsletters.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.