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Study shows the number of nearsighted Americans is growing



The findings are eye-opening. The number of nearsighted Americans has increased from 25 percent in the 1970s to 41 percent this year. No matter how you look at it, the conclusions of this new study by the National Eye Institute, simply are not good.

“When a lot of people, 40 or 50 million people, have myopia it ends up costing the U.S. about 2 – 3 billion dollars annually. It is an important problem if it is on the increase,” said Susan Vitale of the National Eye Institute.

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, is when the eyes focus incorrectly to make distant objects appear blurred.

The study did not examine the causes of the increase, but experts say the reasons could include genetics or poor outdoor lighting. They are also looking into the impact of an increase in “near work”, like reading, surfing the web or texting.

Dr. Roy Chuck, head of ophthalmology at Montefoire Hospital said, “Nearsighted work can really effect the development of young eyes. If that is exclusively the kind of work that you are doing it is equally important to be outside playing, stimulating your far vision.”

The message for parents? Turn off the TV and get your kids outside.

More research is still necessary, but this study is also shedding light on the importance of regular eye exams.

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Story summary

A new study shows that more people are nearsighted today than in the early seventies. It is a common problem that’s easily corrected, but one that has scientists asking why?

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