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Myopia Increasing Amongst Americans

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Myopia Increasing Amongst Americans

America’s vision is getting worse…

A new study has shown that America’s sight is getting worse as the number of people suffering from myopia, or nearsightedness, has increased by over 60 percent.

The study, conducted by Susan Vitale and her colleagues, used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

To compare eyesight information for more than 4,400 people tested in 1971 and 1972, with data from another set of 8,300 people tested from 1999 to 2004.

The results showed that in the early 1970s only a quarter of people were nearsighted, but from 1999 to 2004, that number had risen up to 42 percent.

myopia nearsightedness Myopia Increasing Amongst Americans

Myopia severity has also increased, with moderate nearsightedness doubling between the two time periods and severe cases, although uncommon, also rising sharply. Mild myopia cases increased slightly, from about 13 percent to 18 percent.

Because technology has improved significantly since the 70′s, when analyzing the more recent eye-exam data, the scientists used only diagnoses that were made with the same technology used in the 1970s standard eye tests and trial lenses.

The findings may not come as a surprise to some, however, the sharpness of the increase 66 percent for the general population, more than 160 percent for African-Americans has scientists concerned.

Despite the fact that myopia is widespread and treatable with corrective lenses (and some of the people diagnosed as nearsighted in the study have sufficiently mild myopia as not to necessitate wearing glasses), the condition still isn’t perfectly understood.
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It’s believed that genetics play a key role, but environmental factors, like as staring at computer screens for hours on end, are also believed to worsen eye sight. And according to the Los Angeles Times:

Any activity that requires long periods of close-up work, such as reading, may change the shape of the eye. Near work, in particular, causes the eye to grow somewhat longer; looking in the distance relaxes the eye.

The study appears in the Archives of Opthalmology.

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