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Now BIG TECH are focusing on Myopia: Apple Provides Powerful Insights into Vision Health

Earlier this week Apple announced a groundbreaking move of two new health features that will be launched as part of the iOS 17 software update this autumn.

The tech giant has unveiled its commitment to revolutionising the healthcare field with powerful insights into various aspects of our well-being - mental and physical. Among the notable areas of focus is vision health, where Apple aims to make significant strides in improving our understanding and management of conditions such as myopia. This innovative approach has the potential to reshape how we approach eye care, empowering individuals to take control of their eye health like never before.

Young children wearing Apple Watches

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a prevalent visual impairment that affects a significant portion of the global population. It is estimated to impact a third of the world's population, and projections suggest that this number could rise to a staggering 50 per cent, equating to approximately 5 billion people, by the year 2050 [1].

It is clear that over the years, the prevalence of myopia has risen at an alarming rate, particularly among children and young adults. Factors such as reduced outdoor activities, urbanisation, longer hours spent in education, and extended periods of continuous reading or close work have been recognised as contributing factors to the development or worsening of myopia.

A 2020 study found a significant correlation between the amount of time individuals spend outdoors and myopia development. The research suggested that increased exposure to natural light, specifically bright outdoor light, may be crucial in preventing myopia or slowing its progression [2].

The International Myopia Institute recommends children spend at least 80-120 minutes a day outdoors. However, with modern lifestyles, urbanisation and digital devices being used at a very early age in both home and school environments, these recommendations are far from being met.

Understanding the importance of outdoor time and its potential impact on myopia, Apple's commitment to vision health takes on new significance. By integrating powerful insights into iOS 17, Apple aims to assist users in managing their eye health by leveraging the capabilities of their devices.

One of Apple's key contributions to vision health is the Apple Watch, which will offer features designed to monitor and encourage outdoor time. With built-in sensors, the Apple Watch can track users' exposure to daylight and provide helpful reminders to spend time outdoors. By promoting the benefits of natural light, Apple's technology can aid in mitigating the risk of myopia and other vision-related conditions.

In addition to the Apple Watch, Apple's iOS 17 will introduce features that emphasise digital well-being and eye health. These features include monitoring screen time, limiting app usage, and utilising advanced display technologies to reduce eye strain. By providing users with valuable insights into their device usage habits, Apple aims to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their screen time and establish healthier digital habits.

Apple's focus on vision health and myopia management has the potential to bring about significant positive changes. By leveraging the power of technology, Apple is equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to take control of their eye health. Encouraging outdoor time and optimising screen usage can help combat the growing prevalence of myopia and foster healthier visual habits.

Apple's commitment to providing powerful insights into vision health is a game-changer for the field of myopia management. This innovative approach has the potential to make a significant impact in combating myopia and improving overall vision health. As we move forward, the collaboration between technology and healthcare promises to unlock new possibilities, allowing us to safeguard our eyesight and embrace a healthier future.

Sumbul Desai, M.D., Apple’s vice president of Health comments:

“Mental health and vision health are important, but often overlooked, and we’re excited to introduce features that offer valuable new insights to provide users with an even better understanding of their health. These insights help support users in their daily decisions and offer more informed conversations with their doctors.”

The official Press Release from Apple can be found here.

*The above blog post is an opinion post and should be viewed as such. The information provided is based on personal perspectives and experiences. It is important for parents to take a holistic approach when it comes to managing their child's myopia and consider various factors, including professional advice, scientific research, and individual circumstances. Every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals or eye care specialists for personalised guidance and recommendations regarding the management of myopia in children.

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