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We already know spending hours on end staring at screens isn't easy on your eyes, but monitoring the screens-to-sunlight ratio may be especially important for children whose eyes are developing. Apple wants to help with that, but first, you'll have to buy your kid an Apple Watch.
At its WWDC event Monday, the tech company leaned into the prevalence of myopia -- the medical term for being "nearsighted," which affects almost one-third of us (30%) -- with updates to its health features on WatchOS 10, iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.
While a lot of people could probably use some more time outside and away from screens, children whose eyes are developing can especially benefit from outdoor time by potentially reducing their risk of nearsightedness. (Between 80 and 120 minutes of outdoor time is recommended for school kids, per one estimate from the International Myopia Institute.) Apple says that Apple Watch owners will be able to monitor how much time they spend in the sunlight with an ambient light sensor from WatchOS 10.
In other vision news, Apple announced a Screen Distance feature that encourages people to move their device farther from their face if they've been holding it close for too long. The distance feature uses the same TrueDepth camera for iPad and iPhone.
Remembering to keep your devices book-reading distance or more from your face will help adults stave off symptoms of eye strain, but Apple also draws on a similar body of myopia research that finds kids, especially, may reduce their risk of myopia by limiting their exposure to screens.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.