What Causes Myopia?


Statistics show that the extent of myopia (nearsightedness) is approaching an epidemic. Some scientists believe they have found an explanation for this. In their opinion, the cause of myopia is the lack of daylight.

Myopia usually occurs in school-age children and adolescents. Australian researchers believe that neither the habit of spending a lot of time at the computer nor reading books and genetics should be the real cause of myopia. All that a person needs to maintain vision is to spend at least three hours a day in the sunlight.

Scientists conducted a study involving adolescents up to 19 years. They found out that myopia occurs due to elongation of the eyeball, when the image is focused in front of the retina rather than on it. The defect of vision occurs because of poor light in the room. The baby’s eyes need the light equal to 10 000 lux – the brightness of sunlight (for example, in a well-lit classroom the light is about 500 lux).

Many experts in ophthalmology agree that children can retain normal vision much longer, spending more time on the street. These findings have led to public campaigns in many East Asian countries where children are often encouraged to get out of enclosed buildings.

The fact to the topic:

During half a century, the number of short-sighted people has more than doubled in Europe and the United States. In East Asia, the situation is even worse. Sixty years ago, only 10-20% of the population of China was short-sighted, and today 90% of local teenagers suffer from myopia. In Seoul, 95.6% of 19 year olds have this vision defect. According to some estimates, by the end of this decade, one-third of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – will be short-sighted.