Parents, it’s time to pry your children away from their devices.
Rates of nearsightedness, or myopia, are surging around the world, and doctors believe screens and study time might be to blame. In North America, it’s estimated that about 42 per cent of the population suffers from myopia, but that rate gets as high as 80 per cent in some parts of Asia. Admittedly, eye specialists aren’t entirely sure why so many people are becoming nearsighted, but they say screen-time does have the potential to disrupt normal eye development.
Eleven-year-old girl Juliana Szucs (seen in the video above) was becoming myopic so quickly, she needed a new set of stronger glasses every six months.
“I was honestly afraid she would be blind, her eyes were changing so quickly,” said her mom Wendy Szucs, who is also nearsighted.
So far, there’s no way to stop or cure myopia, but some doctors have been experimenting with a diluted version of a medication already on the market, and the results so far have been quite positive. The drug is called atrophine, which is traditionally used to dilate the pupil during eye exams. Even though Health Canada and the FDA in the U.S. haven’t approved its use for managing myopia in children, some doctors have shifted over to using it anyway.
The reason for that is because research out of Singapore found that by administering atrophine at one one-hundredth of its usual dose, myopia progression could be slowed by 50 per cent over five years. The study found that of 84 patients treated, only one experienced side effects.
Atrophine also seems to be working for Juliana, who hasn’t changed her prescription since.
You can learn more about this medical breakthrough in the video above.