By 2050, half of the world’s population could be short-sighted, research suggests, and screens are to blame.
According to research published in the Opthalmology journal, 4.8billion people, or 49.8 per cent of the global population, will need reading glasses by 2050 – almost double the 2010 figure of 28.3 per cent.
The study suggests that ‘lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near-work activities’ – time spent looking at screens – are ‘widely considered’ to be behind this dramatic change, reports The Telegraph.
High income countries are most at risk of myopia, the researchers say, simply because the people living in those countries spend more time looking at their television, or phone, or laptop.
However, a twenty-year-long Ohio State University study which concluded last April found ‘no association’ between screen time and eyesight in 4,500 children.
‘Near work has been thought to be a cause of myopia, or at least a risk factor, for more than 100 years,’ said lead author Karla Zadnik.
‘In this large dataset from an ethnically representative sample of children, we found no association.’
Though both studies agree that less time spent outside is correlated with myopia, it is not yet clear why exactly this is the case.