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Some Interesting News About Nearsightedness

Here’s some interesting news I received from the Rebuild Your Vision Newsletter

Nearsightedness, the world’s most common eye disorder, is on the rise, in correlation with industrialization and urbanization, according to this year’s annual myopia conference, held at Germany’s University of Tübingen in July. The condition, in which people see close-up objects clearly while distant objects appear blurred, occurs in about 30 percent of citizens in many countries.

Myopia rate varies across the globe

However, the prevalence of myopia may be as high as 70 to 90 percent in some parts of Asia: for example, up to 80 percent of people in Singapore have myopia—while only about one in three Americans has the condition. China has the highest myopia rate in the world: 400 million out of its 1.3 billion people. As a region, Africa has the lowest, with just 10 to 20 percent.

Countries with a high prevalence of nearsightedness have a hard time finding fighter pilots, to give one example of how myopia affects a population.

So there has been tremendous interest in the scientific community to find out more about what causes myopia and how it can be treated.

Myopia genes found

According to Science Daily, scientists at Duke University Medical Center, in conjunction with other groups worldwide, have uncovered a gene associated with myopia in Caucasian people from several different regions, including the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Australia.

Terri Young, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, pediatrics, and medicine, and a researcher in the Center for Human Genetics at Duke, was the lead researcher. Young has also led a team that found a different gene related to myopia in Chinese and Japanese populations.

No cause, but a myopia antidote

While everything from heredity to educational level to time spent reading and TV watching to participation in sports has been studied in relation to myopia, no cause has yet been determined.

However, Young points out, there is an antidote for the condition. “People need to go outside and look to the horizon,” he says. “Today’s near work forces our eyes to constantly be in tension to focus on near objects—reading papers and watching monitors. We also watch TV, work in cities with high buildings, drive in heavy traffic, and generally have fewer chances for distant views, especially in urban areas. These factors affect children with developing vision, as well as many adults.”

Myopia risk linked to birth date

In another study, Israeli researchers found that the risk of moderate and severe myopia varied with birthdays. Light exposure before and just after birth generates biological signals that influence the development of the eye’s ability to focus and refract light properly. High natural light levels mean that a baby born in June or July is more likely to be nearsighted, they discovered, than if he or she had been born in December or January.

Myopia ? nerd

Meanwhile, Australian researchers set out to find whether myopic people really conformed to the pervasive cross-cultural “geek” stereotype. In studies of twins, they found that indeed, the opposite was true: “We have literally busted the myth that people who wear glasses are introverted or have particular personality characteristics.

They are more likely to be agreeable and open, rather than closed and introverted,” says Professor Paul Baird of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Eye Research Australia. Hollywood, take note.

Interesting Stuff… Ain’t It? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

William

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