India's smartphone penetration has been growing at a phenomenal pace, especially in recent years. Now at a staggering 374,893,000 smartphone users, India has the second-highest number of users in the world, only after China. In 2021 the figure is expected to almost triple to 829 million smartphone users. Although the rapid uptake of technology is promising on many fronts, clinicians and scientists are warning parents of the health risks associated with excessive smart device use in children.
It has become increasingly difficult to ignore the correlation between smart device usage and the prevalence of myopia (short-sightedness). A world-leading study conducted in 2015 reported in The North India Myopia Study (NIM Study) found, on examining the behavioral risk factors of myopia, a positive association between the presence of myopia and playing mobile, computer and video games among children in India. Therefore, with this major study, coupled with parents' concerns of their children's device use, it comes as no surprise that Plano has become an important tool in the global public health domain to curb the myopia epidemic.
The Plano app was developed to combat the onset of myopia in children. The world's first science-based eye health app with the Singapore government's support, Plano combines a suite of smart eye health and parental help and safety features that aid in cultivating healthier smart device usage among children. The innovative app empowers parents to manage their children's screen time while simultaneously incentivizing children to adopt proper smart device behavior through its rewards-based system.
The app runs in the background of smart devices, sending friendly alerts that recommend good eye care practices, including optimal face to screen distance, and taking timely eye breaks. Plano also screens for myopia by tracking children's behavior
patterns that are associated with known myopia risk factors. These are fed into smart algorithms which generate eye progress reports that are sent to parents, helping them to ensure that their child gets timely eye checks.
"The need for an effective solution to curb myopia progression among children is now more than ever, a dire one," says Associate Professor Mo Dirani, Founding Managing Director of Plano. "The nature of the myopia epidemic in present times is one that necessitates the use of technology as a tool to combat its excessive use - We have developed Plano to do just that."
Plano is available in India and has generated hundreds of thousands of downloads by parents. The app is available on both iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Source: Citizen News Service (CNS)