According to a report in Science News, cases of nearsightedness or myopia are climbing worldwide, particularly among young people who spend their time indoors glued to computer screens. In fact it is now estimated that 42% of all US citizens between the ages of 12-54 suffer from the condition, as opposed to only 40% in the 1970’s. This is especially true for kids living in urban areas in contrast to those growing up in more rural settings who spend more time outside.
While researchers believed the condition was hereditary years ago, new evidence is leaning more toward the belief that it is caused by too many hours reading books and staring at computer screen.
“The gene pool can’t change that much in just one generation,” noted Ian Morgan of Australian National University, who also added that recent studies have shown that “95% of college students in Shanghai are nearsighted, perhaps because Chinese children tend to spend more time studying indoors than students elsewhere in the world.”
In the meantime, researchers are looking to understand what it is about indoor light that causes harm to the eyes, while natural outdoor light, which is known to stimulate the release of dopamine in the retina, may help encourage healthier eye development.