Computers Are Probably Making Us Nearsighted

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Computers Are Probably Making Us Nearsighted
Image credit: unsplash
Guest Writer
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My job requires that I spend a lot of time staring at a computer. Nearsighted since middle school, all this screen time has sharply intensified my vision problems. Without contacts or glasses the world is increasingly fuzzy: From a distance traffic lights, which once resembled crushed Skittles, now look more like fireworks.

I'm not alone in the blurriness. According to new research from Kings College London, nearsightedness – the inability to clearly see distant objects – is on the rise across Europe, probably due in part to the fact that people are spending more time in front of computers and other screens.

In a meta-analysis of studies covering more than 60,000 people, researchers found that while around a quarter of the overall European population is nearsighted, that percentage shoots up to nearly half (47.2 percent) for younger individuals aged 25 to 29.

Related: 5 Amazing Inventions That Are Helping the Visually Impaired

Higher education has been linked to nearsightedness in the past, and this new study found that it was indeed highly predictive: Individuals who received a college degree are about twice as likely to be nearsighted than those who left school before 16. While partially due to genetics and social factors, the researchers speculate that the correlation is also caused by "the nature of modern education such as more time devoted to studying and working with computers and less time spent outside."

Globally, nearsightedness is on the rise. "We knew myopia [the technical name for nearsightedness] was becoming more common in certain parts of the world – almost eight in 10 young people are affected in urban East Asia – but it is very interesting to find that the same pattern is being seen here in Europe," Katie Williams, one of the study's authors, said in the statement.

Stipulated Chris Hammond, another researcher: "While this study was on adults, we do not yet know the impact of the recent rapid rise in use of computers, tablets and mobile phones on visual development in children."

Perhaps not. But judging from the discrepancy in nearsightedness between older Europeans, who did not grow up with computers, and their younger counterparts, who did, I'm guessing myopia is on the up and up.

Related: For Warby Parker, Free Glasses Equals Clear Company Vision

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.