At present, the world is facing an “epidemic” of eye problems, and more and more people need eyeglasses.
The term “epidemic” usually refers to the uncontrolled and dangerous spread of an infectious disease. Some examples are HIV / AIDS and Ebola viruses, which have killed many lives in a relatively short time. But this term can also mean any condition that is rapidly spreading from one region to another. This is why researchers consider that we are facing an epidemic of myopia, given that eye diseases have grown dramatically in recent decades.
About 22% of the total population of the globe has a milder or more severe form of myopia. Hypermetropia affects 8% of children under 6 years, and astigmatism between 30 and 60% of the elderly. That is why the eyewear market has also grown rapidly, reaching a global capital of over 130 billion US dollars.
Myopia – an effect of developed countries
Myopia is an ocular condition in which the eye is elongated and the rays of light do not meet the retina, but in front of it. The bundles that pass through the cornea, pupil and lens should meet at one point on the back of the eye, called the retina. From there, the information goes to the brain through the optic nerve, and is decrypted as a blurred image, especially if the object viewed is far from the viewer.
Myopia is corrected with concave lenses, which will focus the light waves. Another option, for people with more severe myopia, is surgery on the cornea to change the refractive factor. Very severe cases of myopia can lead to other eye conditions, such as glaucoma, retinal detachment or cataract.
Although the exact causes are not known, the risk factors for myopia are both genetic and environmental factors such as “close work”. By this term is meant to perform activities that require a good close up view (up to the level of the outstretched arms), such as reading, writing, video games, studying, playing an instrument, etc. In the past, hard work was blamed for myopia; the more a person focused his eyes on objects in the immediate vicinity, the more difficult he was to see things in the distance. But new research points to other related factors.
Neither genetic factors are the only ones considered by researchers. If two parents are nearsighted, the chances are that their child will develop the same condition. But the genetic factors could not be the speed with which the diagnosis of myopia spreads around the world.
If in the United States the rate of myopia reaches 40-50% in young people, in some parts of East Asia (especially Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea) this percentage goes up to 80%. While some researchers blame school demands, notorious for those areas, others take into account the prevalence of technology among children.
Can myopia be prevented?
Myopia cannot be prevented, but its progress can be slowed down. If a family has a history of eyesight problems or other ocular conditions, there are some solutions that can be applied to children, such as:
Play outdoors – In addition to a rich intake of vitamin D, the sun’s rays will give the child the opportunity to learn the muscles of the eye to react to distant objects.
Less time spent in front of the screens – The TV does not have an impact on the nearsightedness as it is usually relatively far from the eyes of the viewer. But the computer, tablet, and phone can tire your eyes and cause blurred vision, worsening the symptoms of myopia.
Regular visits to the ophthalmologist – If your child complains that he or she does not see well at school or has headaches, a visit to the ophthalmologist may be necessary. Correcting vision, especially myopia, only works if glasses are worn throughout the day to avoid eye fatigue.