As the incidence of nearsightedness increases worldwide, researchers are looking for possible reasons. While previous studies seem to link myopia (nearsightedness) with education, the latest research suggests something quite different. According to a study of young school graduates in big East Asian cities, where up to 90 percent of schooled children are myopic, giving up outdoor activity is thought to be behind the pervasive incidence of nearsightedness. Simply put, as studious youngsters spend more time pursuing indoor interests (reading, studying, watching TV, playing video games, etc.), they deprive themselves of sunshine. It is believed that the sun’s rays stimulate production of the chemical dopamine, which prevents the eyeball from elongating, thereby creating the visual distortion associated with myopia. If you have difficulty seeing distant objects like a TV screen or highway signs, you may be nearsighted. In Britain, where children spend more time outdoors, the incidence of nearsightedness is about 30% to 40%. In Africa, only 2% to 3% of school-aged children are myopic.
Aug 03, 2012