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All Work And No Play Makes Jack Go Blind?05.08.2012 07:54 AM
Scientists say an epidemic of myopia, or nearsightedness, is sweeping through Asian children, and is likely due to students’ spending too much time indoors studying and not enough time outside in the sunlight.
Researchers led by Ian Morgan of Australian National University say the culprit is the massive pressure on Asian children to succeed in school, which leads to too many hours hunched over books indoors and not nearly enough exposure to natural sunlight.
Indeed, East Asian countries with high myopia rates are those that dominate international rankings of educational performance, the study notes.
“What has happened in East Asia is that the study pressure that promotes myopia is already high for early-primary schoolkids, and they spend little time outdoors,” says Morgan. “The worst aspect of this early start is that it gives them longer to become highly myopic, because the eye continues to elongate, and then they are at risk of [more serious vision problems].”
The results suggest that parents — especially tiger moms — might want to give their hard-studying children regular breaks: a couple of hours of sunlight a day would probably do it, the authors say.
CC image courtesy of goldsardine on Flickr.com
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