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Technology, indoor lifestyles destroying humanity's eyesight


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(NaturalNews) For a long time, we believed that short-sightedness, or myopia, was largely down to our genes. However, over the past 50 years, myopia has doubled among young people. This raised the question of whether something other than our heritage could be causing such a rapid change in eye health.

According to new studies, years of indoor teaching and heavy use of our ever-present technologies such as computer screens, televisions, tablets and smartphones are to blame.

Today in the UK, 23 percent of 12- and 13-year-olds suffer from short-sightedness, compared to just 10 percent in the 1960s. Experts say that this dramatic increase is due to the fact that modern children play outdoors far less often than they did in past generations.

This is also why Australians are faring much better than the rest of the developed world. Australian kids spend more time playing outside and less time glued to a TV screen or playing computer games.

Researchers believe that the particularly intensive blue light of LED screens could irreversibly damage the retina of the eye, as outlined in a previous Natural News report.

In East Asian countries with intensive education, such as China, the numbers are even worse. Up to 90 percent of graduated teenagers are short-sighted, compared to just 10 to 20 percent in the 1960s. To reduce these numbers, one Chinese city is experimenting with transparent classrooms that allow sunlight to come in.

"Most short-sightedness comes on around six or seven years of age, which is probably younger than in the 1960s. We're getting short-sightedness at an earlier age and we're getting more of it," says Kathryn Saunders of the University of Ulster, who carried out the latest survey.

According to Chris Hammond of King's College London, people with a degree are twice as likely to be short-sighted compared to people who left after primary school. This makes researchers around the world suspect that technology is not the only culprit; sitting too much in a classroom or spending hours on homework also affects our sight.

One study found that almost 30 percent of ethnic Chinese living in Singapore are short-sighted, compared with only 3 percent of the same ethnic group in Australia. Kids in Australia spend at least two hours a day outside, while kids in Singapore are pushed to do their absolute best at school from the age of four.

Some experts, like Chris Hammond, believe that constantly being indoors and staring at books or electronic devices when we are young makes our eyeballs grow larger. This causes light to focus in front of our retina rather than on it. Others, like Saunders, believe that the problem might be caused by a lack of the sun's essential vitamin D.

Although the exact reason for the increase in these numbers is still unclear, experts urge parents to send their kids outside to spend more time in nature. Not only will this improve eyesight, but it can also counteract the increase in obesity caused by the modern sedentary lifestyle.

Natural ways to improve eye health

• Spend more time with children outside.
• Forbid games and television a few hours per day.
• Encourage children to take up an outdoor sport.
• Wear sunglasses when going outside on a sunny day to protect your eyes from UV light.
• Eat foods rich in carotenoids. These include leafy greens, kiwi fruit, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, berries, bell peppers and many other red, orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.
• Include more omega-3 rich foods in your diet. These include fish or krill oil, salmon, sardines, and many nuts and seeds.
• Avoid sugar, refined grains and processed foods.
• Several studies also link cardiovascular activity, such as running and aerobics, to improved vision. Just 20 minutes about four times a week can help improve eye health.

Sources of this article include:

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