Now that iPhones and other smartphones like it are in front of almost every eye on the planet, technology has yet to answer for what, if any, the side effects will be on the next generation. We’ve used these gadgets without a thought, however, ophthalmologists are weighing in and their concerns should give you pause.
And so, with that in mind, Wired decided to consult experts to help them wade through the facts and fiction about how the smartphone handset has affected our brains, sleep, and eyesight.
For the first interview, click here.
London based ophthalmologist, Andrew Bastawrous, studies eye health and is one of the founders of PEEK vision, a smartphone-tool to diagnose eye problems. He says there is a myopia epidemic happening at the moment and he believes the iPhone (and smartphones in general) are to blame.
“Many more people are becoming shortsighted than they were a decade ago. The implications of this are not just that there are more people needing glasses, but that their condition is pathological. Their myopia is due to the eyeball growing…
The growth of the eye tends to slow down in your late teens and stop. But what’s happening in these population is that it isn’t stopping. It seems to continue, and it’s being seen all over the world but much more so in Asia. In some countries such as Singapore, more than 90 per cent of school children are leaving school myopic. This is having a huge shift in eye care.
The initial theory for this is that people are doing more near-plane reading activity with smartphones which is encouraging the eye to become myopic to meet that environmental need.” 1
When asked if he was concerned about what he was seeing, he responded that his concern in terms of healthcare, “is less around the physical harm it might be causing, but more on emotional and social well-being. The fact is that we are all spending far less time looking other people in the eye. We are seeing less empathy in the way we treat people. And I think the amount of time we give to our screens is part of that. I would like to see empathy and compassion built into our modern technology to amplify it rather than reduce.”2
To read the entire second interview, click here.