CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our wellness advice is expert-vetted. Our top picks are based on our editors’ independent research, analysis, and hands-on testing. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Apple Had Lazer-Eye Focus on Myopia at WWDC 2023

A new WatchOS 10 feature will monitor daylight time, which may be important for kids' eye development. Apple also wants you to keep its screens at a safe distance from your face.

Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
Expertise Medical news, pregnancy topics and health hacks that don't cost money Credentials
  • Added coconut oil to cheap coffee before keto made it cool.
Jessica Rendall
2 min read

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.

An iPhone screen showing time spent in the sun light

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. 

Read more: WWDC 2023 Recap: Vision Pro Headset, iOS 17 and Everything Else Apple Announced

For kids who wear a watch but don't have an iPhone, parents can use Family Setup to pair the child's watch with their parents' phone. You can view all of this in the Health app, which is available on iPad as well as iPhone with the iPadOS 17 update. 

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. 

In general, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends sitting 25 inches, roughly an arm's length, away from your computer.

For more on WWDC, read about Apple's VR headset that could make augmented reality mainstream, new updates to the iPhone and fitness perks coming with the latest Apple Watch update. Also, learn when it might be time for your next eye exam and the latest on Apple's hearing study

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.