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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


December 22, 2009

Trouble seeing? You're not alone

If you are one of those fanatics of rationalism who believe in science, you may find the following piece of information very illuminating. A new report finds that significantly more Americans are nearsighted today than before.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Significantly more Americans are nearsighted today than in the early 1970s, a report released today indicates.

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, is when the eyes focus incorrectly to make distant objects appear blurred. This common problem can be treated by corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses or refractive surgery.

You see guys, my grandma already knew that too much reading can be bad for your eyes. In her time there were no computers, but I bet that today she could have easily figured it all out. It's probably not for nothing that we are dealing with myopia and not its opposite. Probably this has something to do with the proliferation of close range activities such as computers, books and TV in the modern society. Though I admit that this may not be all too obvious to some people.

Researchers don't know why more Americans are becoming nearsighted, and "at this time, we really don't know how to prevent myopia," Dr. Susan Vitale of the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health. "It's really important to get regular eye examinations from an eye care professional," she said.

The thing is that I've never met a person whose eyesight was improved by reading or working with computers, but I did meet quite a few who claimed rapid deterioration as a result of computer work or too much reading. As to why we don't really know how to prevent myopia, an intense debate with one of those rational individuals comes to my mind. The debate was held no more and no less than on a forum of the Alexander Technique of which one of the fundamental tenets is: Use affects function!!! The debate was actually triggered by a discussion of the infamous Bates Method and the person in question citing various scientific research refused to admit the possibility that misuse of the eyes and the poor eyesight can be connected. If it were not for the man's medical background, I doubt he would have held such an irrational position.

As to the scientists, it's good to know that at least they were not entirely surprised.

This wasn't all that surprising, Vitale told Reuters Health, given reports from Asia, Australia, Africa, and Israel indicating that the prevalence of myopia is increasing in those regions. "This is something that has been on the radar for a while," Vitale said, "but it's the first time that we have tried to nail it down as carefully as possible in the US."

Yet, not everything is lost. Some new research is promising a rapid conversion of science with the common sense within less than a century.

There have also been studies linking myopia to "more close-up work" such as reading, sitting at a computer screen, or using small electronic devices. This is a "reasonable" possibility, Vitale said, given how work and entertainment habits have changed in the past 30 years.

"An interesting study" from Australia, Vitale noted, found evidence that children who spent the most time outdoors were the least likely to suffer from myopia. "Outdoors you have different lighting conditions and you are looking at distant objects instead of near objects," Vitale noted, and both of these factors may have an effect on the risk of myopia.

Source: Reuters (via Yahoo)

Well, definitely a very interesting study from Australia, the world is full of surprises.


If you are wondering what this has to do with demography, the Middle East and let alone synchronicity, you will know it later.

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Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 4:33 PM