Increase in Myopia

Background

Myopia develops in childhood, when the eye grows faster than the optics contained therein. Too long a growth of only 1 mm already means 3 diopters of myopia.

Myopia is increasing massively. In 2010, 2 billion people were short-sighted. By 2050, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5 billion people will already be short-sighted, or 50% of the world’s population.

Long screen work (close-up work) and a lot of time under artificial light are among the trigge

Source: http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/MyopiaReportforWeb.pdf

Causes

Too much close work

Nowadays, we spend much more time reading distance than our ancestors. Computers, but also smartphones and tablets cause our optics to be constantly focused at a distance of 20 to 60 cm. This constantly activates the process of so-called accommodation: we make an effort to focus in the vicinity. This stimulates our brain to make the eye short-sighted, because myopia means that you can see close up without any effort.

Too much artificial light

Another reason for the strong increase in myopia is probably also the artificial light that accompanies us over long stretches of our everyday life. The composition of the artificial light, in contrast to natural sunlight, does not release the messenger substance dopamine. And it is precisely the dopamine that can slow down a progression of myopia.

Our questions to you
  • When did the last eye examination take place with your child? What was the correction?
  • Has the correction in the last three prescriptions increased?
  • Has the sight deteriorated in the last 6-12 months?
  • Do the parents wear glasses? If so, what is the correction?
  • Do brothers or sisters wear glasses? If so, what is the correction?

Only in Asia but also in Zurich?

Is the increase in myopia a problem unique to Asia? Not at all. Here in Zurich and throughout Switzerland, too, the number of people with myopia is increasing rapidly. Our living and reading habits are also changing rapidly with us.

More important that we can now help with various measures to slow down the increase in myopia. In addition to changing habits (more time in natural light, greater reading distance from screens, smartphones, tablets), therapy with atropine and / or special contact lenses can slow down the increase in myopia.

The wisdom of our grandparents

The German ophthalmologist Hermann Cohn had already established in the mid-19th century that close work and too little sunlight have an influence on the progression of myopia.

In other words, what our grandparents always said to us  “Do not read so much and go out to the fresh air” makes perfect sense…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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