Laura Mylan, of the national non-profit Children and Nature Network, told us: “We know that regular unstructured play outside is vital for children to reach their full potential and experience truly healthy development. But in today's world, we've lost that.”
Myopia is growing even faster in East Asia, where countries have tried comprehensive remedies. For example, a program in Taiwan encourages students to participate in two hours of outdoor activities every day. The researchers, writing in the journal Ophthalmology, found that a long-term upward trend in myopia rates in Taiwan reversed after 2010. (Supporting Vox's Christophe Haubursin, whose video first introduced us to the study.)
Recently, vision tests on nearly 125,000 children in eastern China showed an increase in myopia during the coronavirus pandemic when they were confined to their homes, especially among toddlers aged 6 to 8, according to an analysis in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Another possible driver is spending more time doing close work, such as studying, reading, working on a computer, or even watching TV. Not only do such activities require you to focus on objects up close, but they are often done indoors as well.
Nowadays, people are also more educated, and many studies have found that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be nearsighted. Of course, the correlation may have to do with the first two factors: You may spend more time studying indoors to earn a diploma or degree.
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