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Myopia, a steadily increasing (juvenile) disease

Is the disease of the century cancer? Depression? Infertility? No… it’s myopia! Moreover, this disease will increasingly affect our children, since it affects one youngster (aged under 30) out of two. This is what European ophthalmologists stated after analyzing the data derived from a research published in the journal “Ophthalmology”. This phenomenon is not only relevant for the time being, but also fast growing, with greater occurrence in Asia than elsewhere on the planet. Who is to blame? Almost certainly the excesses of visual stimuli that today’s young people are exposed to from as early as birth, but not only.

Eight out of ten young people, today, wear glasses for myopia (short-sightedness or nearsightedness) and facts show a significant deteriorating trend. In a sample of 60,000 subjects, one in four is suffering from myopia or is about to suffer from the troubles it involves. It is clear that nowadays our eyes are strongly under stress, not only for study. Young people, as soon as they take their eyes away from books, lay them immediately on computers, mobile phones or tablets to play without interruption. The habit of spending too much time at home too is weaning our eyes off sunlight, its stimuli and the ability to defend themselves against its excesses, resulting in further damage. Young people’s eyes are, in short, “unprepared”.

Moreover, as for predictions for the future, these are not at all encouraging. Children who are born today, the so-called “digital natives”, should gradually become accustomed to the continuous use of their eyes, but the chance of this happening is very low. It is expected that by the age of 10, 40% of them will already be short-sighted. To avoid this, the massive use of electronic devices should be limited. For example, it is okay to use a computer at school, but replacing paper books and notebooks with a tablet is wrong. Even interactive whiteboards are an excellent aid, but only if used occasionally, not all the time. Considering that these children, once out of school, will spend much time enjoying themselves watching TV and using their computer and mobile, at least in the classroom it would be good to avoid excesses. Families and educators are equally called to find a remedy for this situation.