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Clair Enthoven, Willem Tideman, Jan Roelof Polling, Virginie JM Verhoeven, Caroline C W Klaver; The impact of computers on myopia in 6 to 9 year old school children.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):5831.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Myopia onset and progression during childhood and adolescence has a strong association with life style factors including nearwork). The current trend of increased use of digital devices in schools and at home adds significantly to the total hours spent on near work. This study aims to investigate the association between computer use and myopia and axial elongation in 6 to 9 year old school children from the Generation R study.
Analyses were performed in the population-based birth cohort study Generation R (follow up at 6 years, n= 3937; follow up at 9 years, n=3414). Axial length was measured with the IOLmaster 700 and cycloplegic refraction was performed. Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent (SER) ≤-0.5 dioptre. Computer use and outdoor exposure were measured using a questionnaire filled out by the parents. Computer use increase is calculated as the difference between 6 and 9 years. Associations were tested using logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity and outdoor exposure.
Myopia prevalence increased from 2.2% at 6 years to 11.8% at 9 years of age. Mean axial length increased from 22.34±0.73 mm at 6 years to 23.09±0.84 mm at 9 years. Computer use increased from 0.31±0.46 hours per day at 6 years to 0.74±0.79 hours per day at 9 years. Increased computer use was significantly associated with axial elongation (β=0.005; P=0.02), but not with myopia incidence (OR=1.006; P=0.45).
Within our sample of young schoolchildren, computer use increased as they grew older. Children with increased time spent on computers between the age of 6 and 9 years had a faster eye growth. As electronic devices play an increasingly important role in the lives of school children in the home and school environment, more accurate methods are required to test the effect on children’s eyes and myopia development.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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