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Neuroscience For Kids

US Sees Increase in Nearsightedness (Myopia)
January 5, 2010

Do things in the distance look blurred to you? If so, you may be nearsighted. Nearsightedness, also called myopia, is a common eye problem where the image of an object is focused on a spot in front of the retina. People who are nearsighted can wear glasses or contact lenses to focus the image on the retina and make vision more clear.


graph A recent paper by researchers at the National Eye Institute has revealed a significant increase in the number of people in the United States (aged 12-54 years) who are nearsighted. Between 1971 and 1972, 25% of the people surveyed were nearsighted. About 30 years later (between 1999 and 2004), 41.6% of the people surveyed were nearsighted. This means that there was a 66.4% increase in the number of people who were nearsighted!

The paper did not detail the possible causes of the increase in myopia. However, genetic factors and even increasing levels of education (more work with objects that are near) may be responsible.

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