Many of us believe that children benefit from long hours studying. However, a recent medical study might sway some parents to encourage their children to study less and play outside more.
Educational Pressure on Children May Lead to Myopia
Researchers have found that up to 90% of students in major Asian cities have developed myopia (or nearsightedness). People with myopia have difficulty seeing things that are far away due to an elongation of the eyeball.
In the United Kingdom, the average level of myopia is between 20% and 30%, and that was once the average among people in South East Asia as well.
Researchers believe that the shift has occurred because of the massive educational pressure that has developed over the past two generations.
Reduced Sunlight Could Also Play a Role
Additionally it is customary in many Asian countries for children to have a lunch time nap. These factors significantly reduce children’s exposure to bright sunlight.
Sunlight increases the levels of dopamine in the eye, preventing elongation of the eyeball, and in turn myopia. While this type of refractive error can be corrected with proper lenses, doctors are particularly worried about the 10% to 20% of Asian students that are suffering from “high myopia” which can lead to vision impairment or blindness.
Researchers caution that these findings require further exploration.