If you needed another reason to get the kids off the couch and outside, this is it. The rates of near sightedness are reaching epidemic proportions and poised to get worse.
About 90% of youngsters in East Asia have blurry distance vision. S. Korea has even higher rates. While glasses can help most youngsters, some children will suffer serious vision problems – cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and blindness. Blindness is expected to hit about 10% of those with myopia.
The US and Europe rates are better but still worrisome.
The rates are getting worse and getting worse quickly.
Evidence is starting to accrue that the modern life style is accelerating these changes. Children spend increasingly long periods inside buildings. Evidence is mounting that points to the sunshine that children are exposed to affects the growth of the eyeball, keeping it closer to the ideal shape. Bright indoor lighting just isn’t strong enough to accomplish this.
Researchers in Singapore have run some promising experiments with atropine eye drops. Low doses of the medication seem to help slow the development of myopia.
Currently about 1.45 billion have myopia. By 2050 over 4 billion are expected to have the condition. Aside from the human suffering, the loss of productivity and cost of looking after failing eyesight is expected to continue to increase. According to WHO figures for 2007, the cost of lost production world-wide was $US 268.8 billion.
There is no convincing evidence that close work damages the eyesight. It is the lack of bright sunshine that seems to cause the problem.
Sidney Morning Herald
Children’s eyeballs grow normally under the influence of strong light. Well lit classrooms and homes are not bright enough to ensure correct growth.
The best way to combat this epidemic is to ensure that children spend a couple of hours outside every day. Even with sunglasses on and spending time in the shade will give the kiddies a healthy dose of light. Failing the opportunity to spend playtime outdoors, very bright lighting indoors is recommended.
Outdoor play is important for youngsters for many reasons. You’ve just heard about another one.
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