June 2020
Volume 61, Issue 7
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2020
Time Outdoors, Near Work, and Electronic Device Use in Israeli Children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ariela Gordon-Shaag
    Dept. of Optometry, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Einat Shneor
    Dept. of Optometry, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Ravid Doron
    Dept. of Optometry, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Jonathan Levine
    Dept. of Optometry, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Lisa Ostrin
    College of Optometry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Ariela Gordon-Shaag, None; Einat Shneor, None; Ravid Doron, None; Jonathan Levine, None; Lisa Ostrin, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2020, Vol.61, 2680. doi:
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      Ariela Gordon-Shaag, Einat Shneor, Ravid Doron, Jonathan Levine, Lisa Ostrin; Time Outdoors, Near Work, and Electronic Device Use in Israeli Children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):2680.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Outdoor time and near work are risk factors for myopia. There is recent concern that electronic device use may also contribute to myopia. Evidence supporting the contributions of these risk factors is equivocal. Previous studies have reported a high prevalence of myopia in young adult ultra-Orthodox males, possibly attributed to educational demands requiring intense near work from a young age. This study aimed to assess visual activity in three groups of Israeli Jewish children with highly homogenous genetics, but vastly different behaviors.

Methods : Twenty-eight healthy boys, ages 8-10, were recruited from ultra-Orthodox (n=13), religious (n=8), and secular (n=7) backgrounds. A complete eye exam with cycloplegic autorefraction (L80, Luneau, FR) was performed. An Actiwatch was dispensed for children to wear for 7-10 days for objective measures of light exposure and physical activity. Reading, writing, and electronic device use were assessed with a custom questionnaire. Time outdoors was quantified as minutes per day exposed to >1000 lux. Data were analyzed with Kruskal Wallis tests and Bonferroni post hoc comparisons.

Results : Data show that refraction tended to be more myopic in ultra-Orthodox boys (-1.01±1.27 D), although not significantly different than religious (-0.63±1.27D) or secular boys (+0.10±0.32D, P=0.31). Ultra-Orthodox boys learned to read at a significantly younger age (4.38±0.77 years) than religious (5.88±0.35 years, P=0.002) and secular boys (6.14±0.38 years, P<0.001). Ultra-Orthodox boys had significantly less electronic device use than secular boys (0.44±0.62 and 4.52±1.01 hours, respectively, P=0.002), and significantly more reading and writing time than secular boys (2.71±2.10 and 0.78±0.53 hours, respectively, P=0.006). Actigraph data showed that there were no significant differences in daily activity (P=0.64) or time spent outdoors (P=0.51) between groups.

Conclusions : These preliminary findings demonstrate that ultra-Orthodox, religious, and secular boys exhibit distinct behaviors. These behaviors may contribute to previously reported differences in refractive error between groups. Findings suggest that increased near work could be the myopiogenic factor in the ultra-Orthodox population, as opposed to time outdoors or electronic device use. Ongoing data collection to increase sample size will help to confirm this hypothesis

This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.


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