BEVERLY HILLS ( — A recent study has revealed that smartphones are to blame for vision problems.

British researchers coined the problem “screen sighted,” referring to a 35 percent increase in nearsightedness since the launch of smartphones in 1997.

The researchers said people normally hold their cellphones about eight inches away from their face, as opposed to magazines, which people hold about 16 inches away.

“It’s just all the time, really up close, so that can cause strain. Your eyes are capable of taking that strain, but it’s just for how long can it take that strain for. So what the eye tries to do, we feel, is sometimes it becomes a little more nearsighted, so it’s harder for you to see far away and easier for you to read up close,” said Dr. Jackson Lau, a Beverly Hills optometrist.

The biggest uptick in nearsightedness has been seen in children and young adults. Studies show many kids have a smartphone or device by age 7.

“A lot of them start a little bit earlier sometimes now…that they’re a little more nearsighted…sometimes nearsighted is a little higher,” said Lau.

Lau said more research needs to be done, but he thinks people should give their eyes some rest.

“Take a break after about 20 minutes of reading. Take a 20-second break. Look far away. Blink 20 times. And then come back to your reading. Just so your focus is not up close all the time,” he said.

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