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According to scientists long hours in front of televisions and computer screens threaten to create an epidemic of shortsightedness in children. They have determined that these long-term vision changes result from stress coupled with increased time focusing on close objects.
The rising levels of myopia do not appear to be related to genetics or diet. In the words of Ian Morgan of the Australian National University in Canberra in New Scientist magazine, “As kids spend more time indoors, on computers or watching telly, [they] are going to become myopic.”
Morgan claims that studies in several countries reveal an increased incidence of myopia. The reason most suspect is lifestyle habits involving activities requiring focusing on near objects.
In Sweden, 50 per cent of children aged 12 have myopia; by the time they are 18 it is predicted more than 70 percent will be myopic. According to the Royal National Institute for the Blind 12 million Britons are myopic, and 500,000 have “high-degree myopia”, which can lead to retinal damage and blindness.
Myopia is the result of an elongation of the eyeball, causing light to focus in front of the retina. It cannot be cured directly, although it can be corrected by lenses or by laser surgery to remove some of the lens, in effect shortening the eyeball.
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