Could your cell phone be giving you an elongated eye ball?
We ask a lot of our eyes each day and most of us never think about how hard our phones are on them. Your cell phone could be elongating your eyeball - hurting your future vision.
"I started to see her grades fall down in kindergarten," said mom, Anna Martinez.
"I can't see far. It's kind of blurry," Mariah Mendoza, Martinez' daughter said.
"As soon as we got the glasses, her grades came up," Martinez said.
Myopia- what Mariah has - also known as nearsightedness has doubled with this generation.
More kids, younger kids, all needing glasses.
"You go to restaurant and you see everybody is looking at this (cell phone). You go to dinner everybody is looking at this, you go to a public place, everybody is looking at this, and you say that dramatic change of behavior must have some consequence," Dr. Ming Wang said.
Many studies show it does - affecting half of young adults in the US and Europe. Twice as many than 50 years ago.
"That's a pretty large amount of people and it's even going to get worse and worse the more they're on their gadgets," Martinez said.
Having the world at our fingertips, research estimates, show will mean a third of the world will have Myopia by 2020: about 2.5 billion people.
One of the world's leading Myopia researchers, Australia's Dr. Padmaja Sankaridurg says we're on a path toward a "Myopia epidemic."
"It's absolutely true because of the cell phone eye syndrome which is an established scientific problem," Dr. Wang said. "We're only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg."
The closer we hold it, the harder our eyes have to work to maintain this fixed focal length & the more long term damage we can cause. Doctors say just like any part of the body we over use... the faster it wears out.
Researchers say the eye actually starts to change shape, to grow, elongating when we constantly focus on near object.
This structural change which stretches the retina, makes you more at risk for retinal detachment later in life and Glaucoma.
For middle aged people, this practice can also speed up Presbyopia where you suddenly can't read things close up.
"I feel like it's straining their eyes," Martinez said. "I can tell by them blinking a lot and focus. I have to constantly tell them get off your phone, go outside, do chores."
An easy solution is to adopt the 20-20-20 eye care habit.
"Meaning after 20 minutes of cell phone or computer work - take a break meaning looking at an object a tree or something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds," Dr. Wang said.
Not much pay off it seems focusing on your phone for hours at a time...Although...
"Yes, it will be more money for optometrists and opthalomogists," Dr. Wang said.