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'Smartphones may raise myopia risk'

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Smartphones are causing sight problems to soar in children as young as seven, a top UK eye surgeon has warned.

Since the launch of smartphones in 1997 there has been a 35 per cent increase in patients with advancing myopia (short-sightedness), according to David Allamby, a leading laser eye surgeon in the UK.

Allamby, founder of Focus Clinics, has warned that myopia in young adults and children could increase by 50 per cent within the next 10 years and the trend has led him to dub the condition "screen sightedness".

Research has shown that users hold their handsets only 18 to 30cm away from their faces, compared with newspapers and books which are held 40cm away from the face when reading, the 'Daily Express' reported.

"People need to ensure they limit screen time wherever possible even by going outside without their phone for a period of time each day (Getting out into the sunshine has been shown to reduce the progression of short-sight), and also seriously consider the age at which they give their children a smartphone," Allamby said.

Allamby also added that today's generation of children are most at risk of myopia, with children as young as seven being given their first smartphone.

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First Published: Sun, August 18 2013. 18:00 IST