Mandating comprehensive eye examinations for children where is the evidence
By the late 1990s, these examinations pointed to a prevalence approaching 80%.4 Comparable findings have been reported in other Asian countries such as Taiwan5 and South Korea.6Meanwhile, many parts of Asia have undergone rapid economic development, and demanding educational regimes have been implemented over the past two decades to create a highly skilled, dedicated workforce to keep building the momentum of this economic drive.78 Not only do children spend most daylight hours in classrooms, they remain equally sequestered at home, either finishing up schoolwork or engaged in leisure activities that keep them glued to one screen or another.79“It took me a while to realize how distorted a child’s experience of the world is in China,” says Ian Morgan, an Australian ophthalmology researcher who spends about five months of each year in Guangzhou studying myopia.“In Guangzhou, the climate is hot and sticky for most of the year, and people get outdoors in the evening.Clues to this potential contribution have come from studies such as the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Ethnicity and Refractive Error (CLEERE), which included more than 4,000 U. He recommends careful scrutiny of any figures related to changes in prevalence, which might be exaggerated by samples from specific populations that are being influenced by other factors. National Eye Institute (NEI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health, conducted one of the most sophisticated attempts to date to assess myopia prevalence in the United States.Indeed, the four different ethnic groups in CLEERE came from four different locations in three states; thus, differences attributed to ethnicity could easily have come from environmental factors. Susan Vitale, an NEI epidemiologist who is also an adjunct associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, led the comparison of NHANES data from the early 1970s and the early 2000s. The ethnic make-up of that population has shifted over the last three decades; Asian and Hispanic representation was much more limited in the earlier versus later surveys, so data from these population groups were not included in the comparison.Singapore’s health authorities launched the public awareness campaign in response to a sharp spike in myopia rates among children and young people that was flagged by the country’s military.Military service is compulsory in Singapore, and the eye examinations conducted on incoming conscripts effectively provide a population-wide survey.
“Go outdoors and play.” The irony of flashing messages on a computer monitor to get children away from that same monitor is not lost on the researchers who have been charting the rise of chronic nearsightedness in the region’s populations.
Population surveys in Guangzhou, Singapore, and Taiwan point to these areas as hot spots for children becoming myopic earlier, with more of them being more severely myopic.411 But even as the precise factors responsible for the increase are still being debated and explored, a mounting body of evidence cites time spent outdoors as crucial to the healthy development of the eye.
Although myopia is becoming more prevalent worldwide, some areas are more affected than others.
Centuries ago, dedicated monastic scribes or cloistered seamstresses might have blamed failing eyesight on their particular type of near-focus “close work.” By the late twentieth century, such blame was expanded to include “close leisure,” such as countless hours spent sitting in front of the television, and most recently squinting at high-resolution monitors on everything from gaming consoles to cell phones.
However, despite ongoing attempts to tie these close behaviors to the onset of nearsightedness, or myopia, researchers have not come up with convincing results.