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Prevent Myopia, Part I: The Cause

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 by: Donald Rehm
Tags: myopia, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Myopia (nearsightedness) is an abnormal elongation of the eye, causing distant objects to appear blurred. Now, because of computer use and learning to read earlier in life, it is becoming an epidemic. In the US, roughly one-third of our children, although born with normal vision, end their school years with abnormal vision, condemned to wearing glasses the rest of their lives. In some Asian countries, such as Singapore, Japan and Taiwan, over 90% of university graduates are now nearsighted.

In spite of the rapidly increasing incidence of myopia around the world, eye doctors continue to claim that myopia is inherited, even when there is no history of myopia in the family. They claim that the way we use our eyes has no effect on the development of myopia. They claim that the distance lenses they prescribe and sell to their myopic customers do not make the myopia worse. There is no proof of any of this. They are only stating their biased opinion. One hears such "reasoning" as "much more research must be done before we can say that reading causes myopia" or "wearing glasses is just a minor inconvenience." If you do not educate yourself, you can be a victim of this attitude.

Research, which is widely ignored, shows that the truth is just the opposite of these claims. Myopia is caused by the large amount of reading and other close work that we do in a modern society. Our eyes were never designed for constant close-up use. Books were invented only recently in the long history of mankind. Illiterate people, and our monkey cousins living in the wild, as a rule do not become nearsighted. This has been known for over 200 years. Treating symptoms and ignoring causes is the attitude that has become the rule throughout our profit-driven, sickness-care system. The money is in treatment, not in prevention

Are you concerned about what your children view on the Internet? You should be more concerned about HOW they are viewing it. If they are wearing the glasses normally prescribed for myopia, their vision will deteriorate. If you ignore the information and fail to educate yourself, you are a partner with your eye doctor in creating a visually handicapped child.

We are normally born farsighted. That means that the eye is somewhat shorter than ideal, causing the eye to exert focusing effort at ALL distances in order to see clearly. The focusing muscle (ciliary muscle), which controls the shape of the lens, is thus in a constant state of contraction. This causes the muscle to lock up or go into a spasm. This is followed, over time, by a permanent elongation of the eye. This happens because the ciliary muscle is attached to the tissues that go around the back of the eye. As it contracts, it pulls on these tissues. As these tissues stretch, the eye becomes longer and the increased space is filled with fluid that the eye itself produces. This means that less focusing effort is needed.

This feedback system is used by the eye in an effort to attain an ideal eye length, neither farsighted nor nearsighted. This state is called emmetropia. If little close work is done, this elongation process normally stops with only a slight amount of farsightedness left. Then the eye is relaxed for distance and the entire amount of focusing ability is available to see close. The ciliary spasm relaxes. The problem starts when constant close work causes this process to go too far and the eye becomes too long, or nearsighted.

Think of this analogy. If you lift weights, the muscles become larger and stronger. Why? Why don`t they just remain the same? The reason is that by becoming larger and stronger the work can be done with less stress on the body. The body does not like a constant condition of stress. The eye also does not want to operate under a constant condition of stress. It wants to be relaxed for distance, with the ciliary muscle contracting only for brief periods of close focusing. That is the goal of the visual feedback system, refining the length of the eye to attain maximum efficiency.

All of this is ignored when a child becomes myopic. Distance glasses (minus lenses) are routinely prescribed. These function by bringing everything closer, up within the range of clear vision. From a focusing standpoint, this means that a distant mountain is now up at arm`s length. And a book that was at arm`s length is now much closer. What does the eye do under these conditions? It becomes even longer, soon creating the need for stronger glasses. This sets up a vicious circle of increasing myopia, stronger glasses, and increased focusing stress.

If glasses were never prescribed, the myopia would stop at a modest amount. It is only the prescription of stronger and stronger glasses that pushes the eye into a sight-threatening condition, with the tissues of the eye under enormous stress. This kind of treatment ignores the age-old rule in health care, "First do no harm."

The Myopia Myth (book)

About the author

Donald Rehm is president of the International Myopia Prevention Assn., with headquarters in Ligonier, PA. He is the author of the book, "The Myopia Myth - The truth about nearsightedness and how to prevent it." The book can be read on his website http://www.myopia.org . There you will find everything you need to prevent myopia in your family as well as his analysis of why this information is being withheld from the public.

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