Flinders University: Poor sleep quality can lead to Myopia

People with myopia tend to fall asleep late and have poorer sleep quality, according to a new Australian study. Another reason to limit time on screens at night, as they can disrupt the circadian rhythm.

Eye Exam

Eye Exam

By 2050, half of the world’s population will be nearsighted. In addition to genetic predisposition, many factors have been proposed to explain this increase, such as lack of outdoor light and working with screens. Now a new element has been added to the list: lack of sleep, or more precisely, disruption of circadian rhythms. Researchers at Flinders University (Australia) conducted a study with nearsighted and farsighted students in their twenties to measure their melatonin levels and circadian rhythms. They found that in myopic people, sleep time is shifted by 1 hour and 12 minutes, and melatonin levels are about 30 percent lower. “In general, myopic people fall asleep later, take longer to fall asleep, and sleep less than nonmyopic people,” the authors write.

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One culprit is cell phones. “Many digital devices emit blue light that can suppress melatonin production and slow circadian rhythms at night, leading to delayed and poor quality sleep,” says Ranjay Chakraborty, lead author of the study. In January, a study showed that confinement of children had increased myopia, mainly due to prolonged use of screens and lack of natural light. Therefore, specialists recommend banning the use of screens at night for children, knowing that myopia develops mainly in adolescence.

Children and adolescents spend more and more time behind a screen. This is not without consequences for their eyes. Cell phones, television, and video games are sometimes the cause of behavioral myopia.

Myopia is a vision disorder that is usually hereditary. However, it can also be caused by our lifestyle and certain behaviors. Heavy use of television or computer screens, smartphones, or video game consoles in poor light conditions distorts the lens. This is behavioral myopia.

Teens are spending more and more time on screen-based activities. On average, they spend nearly 3 hours a day in front of the computer and just under 2 hours watching television. Not to mention the time they spend checking social networks and texting on their cell phones. These activities have an impact on vision. They can cause behavioral myopia.

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In most cases, myopia begins in childhood. It usually appears around puberty. It is usually of hereditary origin, caused by imperfections in the shape of the eyeball. Only the use of glasses or contact lenses can correct this vision problem in the first instance.

However, it is becoming increasingly common for myopia to be caused by excessive use of computer screens. To reduce the risk of myopia, you can help teenagers by advising them to take breaks. Get them used to relaxing their eyes every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen. This advice also applies to adults who work on computers all day. Insist that they practice sports regularly, especially outdoors. Indeed, outdoor activities promote distance vision. And our eyes need it to rest.

Finally, when myopia is diagnosed, it is obviously essential to follow the ophthalmologist’s prescription. If glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, they must be worn continuously.

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References

Myopia, or near-sightedness, is associated with delayed melatonin circadian timing and lower melatonin output in young adult humans

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