Changes in Refractive Error During Young Adulthood: The Effects of Longitudinal Screen Time, Ocular Sun Exposure, and Genetic Predisposition

Lee SS, Lingham G, Wang CA, Diaz Torres S, Pennell CE, Hysi PG, Hammond CJ, Gharahkhani P, Clark R, Guggenheim JA, Mackey DA. Nov 2023

Publication date: Nov 2023

Keywords: myopia, screen time, short-sightedness, sun exposure

What is already known about this subject:

  • In our recent publication, we reported that myopia (short-sightedness) continues to worsen (or progress) between 20 and 28 years old in the Raine Study Gen2 participants. In view of the lack of studies on myopia in young adults, this study explores what factors are linked with faster progression during this age.

What this study adds

  • Myopia was measured at the Gen2 20- and 28-year follow-ups. Information on screen time and time spent outdoors was collected at the 20-, 22-, 27-, and 28-year follow-ups; from this information, longitudinal trajectories of 3 types of screen time (computer, television, and mobile devices), total screen time, and outdoor time were modelled. Genetic score for myopia was additionally calculated. The link between myopia progression and screen time, outdoor time, or genetic score was explored using linear regression.
  • Faster myopia progression was linked with having consistently high computer or total screen time (consistently more than 8 hours/day), compared to having consistently low computer or screen time. Having an increasing computer time from around 2 hours/day to more than 8 hours per day was also linked with faster myopia progression. Television watching and mobile phone use was not associated with myopia progression. A higher genetic risk of myopia was linked with faster myopia progression. Outdoor time was not associated with myopia progression.
  • These findings provide a deeper insight into myopia progression during the third decade of life. Importantly, we showed that increasing outdoor time may not be an effective myopia control method at this age.
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Areas of Interest