Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Near-sighted - Not Enough Outdoor Time

You could have poor eyesight because you didn't spend enough time outdoors as a child. That's the conclusion of a series of studies on myopia.

Myopia is the technical name for short-sightedness – a defect in vision that comes about when your eyes can't focus light from distant objects correctly onto the back of your retina, the light-sensitive part of the back of the eye. You can focus on close objects clearly, but distant objects are blurred.

Fifty years ago the condition was unusual. But it's increasingly common; around the world there are 1.6 billion people with myopia and this is expected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2020.

The global jump in myopia cases is thought to be result of more and more children growing up in environments where they don't see objects far away, and the eye doesn't learn to focus on distant objects as it develops.

It's most common in apartment-dwelling societies where children watch TV and play computer games rather than playing outdoors. In Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, between 30 and 50 per cent of 12-year-old children have some degree of short-sightedness. In the USA, 20 per cent of kids this age are myopic.

Read the entire article.

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