The southern city of Guangzhou has long held the largest eye hospital in China. But about five years ago, it became clear that the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center needed to expand.
More and more children were arriving with the blurry distance vision caused by myopia, and with so many needing eye tests and glasses, the hospital was bursting at the seams. So the centre began adding new testing rooms — and to make space, it relocated some of its doctors and researchers to a local shopping mall. Now during the summer and winter school holidays, when most diagnoses are made, “thousands and thousands of children” pour in every day, says ophthalmologist Nathan Congdon, who was one of those uprooted. “You literally can’t walk through the halls because of all the children.”
East Asia has been gripped by an unprecedented rise in myopia, also known as short-sightedness. Sixty years ago, 10–20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Today, up to 90% of teenagers and young adults are. In Seoul, a whopping 96.5% of 19-year-old men are short-sighted.
Source: The myopia boom
This isn’t the first I’d heard about the hypothesis – the first time indicated that being outdoors was a preventative measure. But only if the horizon was a significant distance away and could be seen; according to them, it was all about spending time focusing on objects a great distance away as well as closer objects. IE: being outdoors in a dense urban environment where you were closely surrounded by buildings that blocked far distance views didn’t help. To put it another way, how many farmers do you know who are near-sighted?
The article/hypothesis picks on books, but tablets/etc are no better. Maybe my folks were right about sitting too close to the TV? Nah… 😛