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Massive rise in Asian eye damage

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Massive rise in Asian eye damage

Up to 90% of school leavers in major Asian cities are suffering from myopia - short-sightedness - a study suggests.

Researchers say the "extraordinary rise" in the problem is being caused by students working very hard in school and missing out on outdoor light.

The scientists told the Lancet that up to one in five of these students could experience severe visual impairment and even blindness.

In the UK, the average level of myopia is between 20% and 30%.

According to Professor Ian Morgan, who led this study and is from the Australian National University, 20-30% was once the average among people in South East Asia as well.

"What we've done is written a review of all the evidence which suggests that something extraordinary has happened in east Asia in the last two generations," he told BBC News.

"They've gone from something like 20% myopia in the population to well over 80%, heading for 90% in young adults, and as they get adult it will just spread through the population. It certainly poses a major health problem."

Eye experts say that you are myopic if your vision is blurred beyond 2m (6.6ft). It is often caused by an elongation of the eyeball that happens when people are young.

According to the research, the problem is being caused by a combination of factors - a commitment to education and lack of outdoor light.

Professor Morgan argues that many children in South East Asia spend long hours studying at school and doing their homework. This in itself puts pressure on the eyes, but exposure to between two and three hours of daylight acts as a counterbalance and helps maintain healthy eyes.

The scientists believe that a chemical called dopamine could be playing a significant part. Exposure to light increases the levels of dopamine in the eye and this seems to prevent elongation of the eyeball.

"We're talking about the need for two to three hours a day of outdoor light - it doesn't have to be massively sunny, we think the operating range is 10-20,000 lux, we're not sure about that - but that's perfectly achievable on a cloudy day in the UK."

'Massive pressures'Cultural factors also seem to play a part. Across many parts of South East Asia, children often have a lunchtime nap. According to Professor Morgan they are missing out on prime light to prevent myopia.

"Children suffer from a double whammy in South East Asia," says Professor Morgan.

"As a result of massive educational pressures and the construction of a child's day, the amount of time they spend outside in bright light is minimised."

A big concern is the numbers of students suffering from "high" myopia. According to Professor Morgan, this affects between 10% and 20% of students in Asian cities. It can lead to vision loss, visual impairment and even blindness.

"These people are at considerable risk - sometimes people are not told about it and are just given more powerful glasses - they need to be warned about the risk and given some self-testing measures so they can get to an ophthalmologist and get some help."

For decades, researchers believed there was a strong genetic component to the condition. It was believed that people from China, Japan, Korea and other countries were particularly susceptible to developing myopia. But this study strongly suggests an alternative view.

In Singapore, where there are large numbers of people from Chinese, Malay and Indian backgrounds, all three ethnic groups have seen a dramatic rise in short-sightedness.

Professor Morgan says you cannot rule out genetics completely, but for him it's not the major factor.

"Any type of simple genetic explanation just doesn't fit with that speed of change; gene pools just don't change in two generations.

"Whether it's a purely environmental effect or an environmental effect playing a sensitive genome, it really doesn't matter, the thing that's changed is not the gene pool - it's the environment."

Further evidence on the impact of light is provided by UK researchers. Kathryn Saunders from the University of Ulster was part of a team which compared short-sightedness in children in Australia and Northern Ireland.

"White UK kids are much more likely to be myopic than white Australian children," Dr Saunders told BBC News. "We've proposed that this might be due to the protective effect in Australia of increased exposure to bright sunlight.

"This requires further exploration and research, but I guess we might want to encourage children to spend more time outside when the sun is shining. It's unlikely to do them any harm."

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17942181 

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Solution:

Play and study outside

Playing-video-games-outside.jpg

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seems like the poorest & less educated people dont need glasses?

how often do you see homeless bum that wears glasses? or ghetto black?

seems like most homeless people have excellent eye sight

most mexican laborers dont wear glasses either? probably because they work outdoors all the time and seldom study or stay inside

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seems like the poorest & less educated people dont need glasses?

how often do you see  homeless bum that wears glasses? or ghetto black?

seems like most homeless people have excellent eye sight

most mexican laborers dont wear glasses either? probably because they work outdoors all the time and seldom study or stay inside

yea I noticed that people that were usually outdoor a lot as a child don't need any sort of visual aid.

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yea I noticed that people that were usually outdoor a lot as a child don't need any sort of visual aid.

some do need glasses, but the majority dont unless theyre elderly

most old asians in chinatown dont wear glasses, especially if they grew up as farmers ,manual laborers, cooks, etc or didnt have a formal education or go to a university

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some do need glasses, but the majority dont unless theyre elderly

most old asians in chinatown dont wear glasses, especially if they grew up as farmers ,manual laborers, cooks, etc or didnt have a formal education or go to a university

Noticed that too but for me I spent a lot of time on the computer as a child so I can deduced that was one of the major reason why I need glasses.

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Reading a lot or doing any sort of work that requires near visual concentration will eventually lead to myopia. I'm actually not really surprised by this.

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seems like the poorest & less educated people dont need glasses?

a lot of people are just born with myopia/hyperopia--you probably don't see dirt-poor people with glasses bc they can't afford them (since glasses aren't a one-fits-all thing). they can probably see fine enough to survive, and they probably never received eye examinations or had people tell them they should get glasses. that's why there are orgs dedicated to donating old glasses for people in need, and people invented those self-adjustable lenses.

I was born far-sighted (I'm asian), so.. will spending a crapton of time on the computer make me less farsighted? lol

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Oh I thought it was just cause they game too much.

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It happens. My sister is totally hooked on her laptop and she wears glasses now. Kids should be more active outside and not staying indoor too much.

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seems like the poorest & less educated people dont need glasses?

how often do you see homeless bum that wears glasses? or ghetto black?

seems like most homeless people have excellent eye sight

most mexican laborers dont wear glasses either? probably because they work outdoors all the time and seldom study or stay inside

All I can say is that you're pretty damned ignorant.

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seems like the poorest & less educated people dont need glasses?

how often do you see homeless bum that wears glasses? or ghetto black?

seems like most homeless people have excellent eye sight

most mexican laborers dont wear glasses either? probably because they work outdoors all the time and seldom study or stay inside

x5vbL.gif

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Oh I thought it was just cause they game too much.

I'm thinking there's a direct link between eyesight and the rise of Starcraft.

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That outside theory doesn't really apply because as a child I would always be outside, I never wanted to come in unless I had to use the bathroom. I'm most likely near-sighted because I like to read a lot and watch dramas sweatingbullets.gif

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there's also the issue of inadequate lighting in the classroom. sometimes the class goes on even if there's an electric problem.

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