The dark side of technology development. By 2050, 5.8 billion people will be myopic

The dark side of technology development.  By 2050, 5.8 billion people will be myopic

By 2050, more than half of the world's people will be myopic, according to WHO. The cause of the myopia epidemic is the overuse of tablets and smartphones – looking from too close a distance forces the eyes to work hard and impairs their work. The only permanent method of correcting myopia is surgery. Modern surgical techniques allow for quick recovery of visual acuity, reduce post-operative discomfort and minimize the risk of complications.

Sight is the most important of human senses. With its help, we receive 80 percent. all impressions from the world around us. It is the main analyzer of cognitive processes – it allows you to collect information and get to know the environment, makes it easier to find your way in space and avoid threats. Sight also helps to express and register non-verbal messages, which constitute the majority of interpersonal communication, and to express feelings and emotions. The eyes very often take over the functions of other senses, and they are also more developed than them – while the sense of taste distinguishes only a few flavors, the eyesight is able to recognize over 160 colors and approximately 600,000. their shades.

– Seeing is a good that cannot be overestimated. Evolution has led to the fact that of all the senses that humans have, vision is the most important. Impairment or lack of vision causes a person to become deeply disabled – says the Newseria Biznes news agency, prof. Jerzy Szaflik, owner of the Oka Laser Microsurgery Center in Warsaw.

The epidemic of the 21st century

However, people all over the world have increasing problems with their eyesight. The epidemic of the 21st century is myopia, or myopia. WHO reports that in 2020 the number of myopic people will reach 2.5 billion, and by 2050 it will exceed 5.8 billion. This means that in just over 30 years, more than half of the human population will be myopic. Myopia is a hereditary disease, but environmental factors are also responsible for its formation and development.

– More and more myopia began to appear from the mid-20th century. This was most likely due to the fact that people looked more and more closely, wrote and read more, but now, in the era of computers, the number of myopic vision defects is increasing dramatically – says Dr. Elżbieta Archacka, an ophthalmological surgeon from the Laser Eye Microsurgery Center.

Human eyesight is designed to look into the distance, but nowadays we force it to focus on objects located at a short distance. In the case of computers it is approximately 40 cm, in the case of smartphones even 30 cm. This requires the eyes to make more effort, resulting in overload of the ciliary muscles. The viewing angle at smartphones is also harmful, which increases when we use them while standing.

– There is a compensatory elongation of the eyeball and, as a result, the image formation is shifted. It does not form on the retina, but in front of it, which leads to vision defects. All electronic devices can lead to the so-called computer vision syndrome or digital vision – says Elżbieta Archacka.

Ways to improve your eyesight

Myopia can be corrected with contact lenses or glasses. However, the former are not always well tolerated by the eyes, while the latter can be uncomfortable – they make it difficult to perform many professional duties and practice sports. They can also be a big aesthetic problem. Moreover, they are only a temporary solution, as lasting effects can only be achieved using a surgical correction method. The most advanced surgical technique can correct myopia up to -10 diopters and myopic astigmatism up to -2 diopters.

– This method involves removing a fragment of the cornea from the inside. This fragment is cut with a laser and then removed by the surgeon. When it is removed, the cornea changes its shape and becomes flatter, which causes the defect to be corrected, says Dr. Elżbieta Archacka.

During the operation, a femtosecond laser is used, based on modern technology of amplifying ultrashort optical pulses. The SMILE method allows the use of a laser for very precise cutting and penetration into the tissue, thus allowing difficult procedures to be performed. In 2018, the creators of this technology were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Operations using a femtosecond laser are completely safe because the device is equipped with a system that stops its operation when eye movement is detected. The process of cutting out the microlens itself takes only half a minute.

– This method allows us to achieve full visual acuity very quickly. The patient sees very well practically the next day. There is no problem with dry eyes because the surface of the cornea is not damaged, says Dr. Elżbieta Archacka.

This type of surgery is also characterized by a shorter recovery period after the procedure. Unlike older methods of surgical correction of myopia, there is no need to remove the epithelium and upper layers of the cornea, which translates into greater patient comfort and minimizes the risk of postoperative complications.

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