Japanese students’ eyesight the worst in recent years, smartphones and mobile games are blamed

A potential heavy price to pay for convenience and entertainment?

Japan has a ton of quality mobile games that can entertain players for hours on end, but spending too much time staring at a bright little screen can be rather detrimental to vision.

Visual acuity data gathered from physical examinations conducted between April and June this year on all elementary, junior high, and high school students have shed light on startling trends among the Japanese youths of today. Specifically, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has revealed that a record high of 25.3 percent of the 3.4 million students failed to meet the 1.0 mark in vision tests.

▼ A visual acuity of 1.0 (also known as 20/20 vision) is considered “normal” vision.

34.1 percent of elementary students and up to a whopping 67.09 percent of high school students did not have 1.0 vision, the highest ever in history. Although junior high school students did not break any records this year, they still came pretty close at 56.04 percent (compared to last year’s 56.33 percent).

▼ “According to experts, this can be linked to the increased time spent staring at
screens caused by smartphone usage and mobile games,” warned the ministry.

Japanese netizen reactions were mixed, as some found it dubious that smartphones have such profound effects on children’s vision:

“I heard that you just get tired eyes, and that it does not affect our vision at all. Which is correct?”
“There are more kids who don’t play games at all but experience eyesight deterioration when they study really hard.”
“I felt my vision suddenly getting worse when I started studying for exams, and got myself a pair of glasses as a result.”
“It’s because of all that studying.”

Smartphones have changed our lives for the better, but it may be prudent to take regular breaks to allow eyes to rest, as maintaining a healthy vision is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. And if you are worried about your visual acuity, perhaps this mysterious optical illusion that only works for poor

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