Friday, May 4, 2012

90% Asian school-leavers suffer Myopia


This is an interesting article but to me, it's more an eye-opening for all of the Asian parents.

As many of the Asian parents become highly educated and bring home more household disposal incomes to their families, these working parents begin to pamper and shower their children with high-tech gadgets like watching televisions, playing computers, video games, latest mobiles, etc. at very young child-age. There are some parents even introduce these high-tech gadgets to their children since they are toddlers. Children will move forward and sit nearer to television and computer screens as they get excited while watching TV programmes and playing video games. Thus, children's eyesight will be getting worse due to over exposure to the radiation and brightness of the screen lights.

As such, more young children begin to develop short-sightedness by the time they reach between four to five years old. Twenty years ago, during my generation, only a handful group of my friends began to develop short-sightedness when we reached between 12 to 13 years old while in contrast, every child in today's generation has the high possibility to suffer with short-sightedness (myopia) by the time they reach the elementary (primary) schools. Although I am reaching mid-thirties, my power of my eye sight keeps increasing as I frequently spend my surfing time on my laptop from morning till night. So, will there be any consequences for Asians who suffer with short-sightedness at young age or during teenagers? Scientists couldn't prove the consequences of suffering with short-sightedness to the age-related but they said that 10 to 20 per cent out of 90 per cent of short-sightedness might suffer with a condition called high and seriousness of myopia, which can lead to blindness from their research study.


So, why are these Asian parents shower their children with high-tech gadgets instead of spending the time with their children with outdoor activities? Are these Asian parents too busy with their careers thus, they provide high-tech gadgets as a replacement for their leisure entertainment to their children? When is the appropriate age to introduce these high-tech gadgets to children? 

I always believe that children should not be forced and emphasized on education only. Education doesn't guarantee them to land better careers and earn higher incomes. They should learn to enjoy their childhood lives, socialize with other children and encourage them to help with household chores so that, they can grow to be more independent and responsible adults who are not able to take care themselves but they are able to dedicate themselves to the society as well.


East Asians short-sighted for snubbing outdoors: study

Snubbing the outdoors for books, video games and TV is the reason up to nine in ten school-leavers in big East Asian cities are near-sighted, according to a study published on Friday.

Neither genes nor the mere increase in activities like reading and writing is to blame, the researchers suggest, but a simple lack of sunlight.

Exposure to the sun's rays is believed to stimulate production of the chemical dopamine, which in turn stops the eyeball from growing elongated and distorting the focus of light entering the eye.

"It's pretty clear that it is bright light stimulating dopamine release which prevents myopia," researcher Ian Morgan of the Australian National University told AFP of the findings published in The Lancet medical journal.

Yet the average primary school pupil in Singapore, where up to nine in ten young adults are myopic, spent only about 30 minutes outdoors every day -- compared to three hours for children in Australia where the myopia prevalence among children of European origin is about 10 percent.

The figure in Britain was about 30 to 40 percent and in Africa "virtually none" -- in the range of two to three percent, according to Morgan.

More than other groups, children in East Asia "basically go to school, they don't go outside at school, they go home and they stay inside. They study and they watch television," the scientist said.

The most myopic school-leavers in the world are to be found in cities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, where between 80 and 90 percent were affected.

Of these, 10 to 20 percent had a condition called high myopia, which can lead to blindness.

"Most of what we've seen in East Asia is due to the environment, it is not genetic," said Morgan, contrary to the common belief 50 years ago.

The researchers, collating the findings of studies from around the world, stressed that being a bookworm or computer geek does not in itself put you at risk.

"As long as they get outside it doesn't seem to matter how much study they do," explained Morgan.

"There are some kids who study hard and get outside and play hard and they are generally fine. The ones who are at major risk are the ones who study hard and don't get outside."

The scientist said children who spent two to three hours outside every day were "probably reasonably safe". This could include time spent on the playground and walking to and from school.

"The amount of time they spend on computer games, watching television can be a contributing factor. As far as we can tell it is not harmful in itself, but if it is a substitute for getting outside, then it is," said Morgan.

He said ways must be found to get children to spend more time in reasonably bright daylight without compromising their schooling.

"It is going to require some sort of structural change in the way a child's time is organised in East Asia because there is so much commitment to schooling and there is also a habit of taking a nap at lunchtime, which is from our perspective prime myopia prevention time."

(Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/east-asians-short-sighted-snubbing-outdoors-study-231607917.html)

Study: Most myopic school-leavers in Asia

Study says long hours spent by children studying and lack of outdoor light to blame for 90% short-sightedness rate.
Last Modified: 04 May 2012 17:11  Source: Al Jazeera English


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A new study has found that up to 90 per cent of school-leavers in Asia's major cities are suffering from myopia, or short-sightedness.

Of these affected, scientists said that 10 to 20 per cent had a condition called high myopia, which can lead to blindness.

The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, linked the eye damage with the long hours spent by Asian students studying as well as the lack of outdoor light.

Ian Morgan, a researcher in the Australian National University, said "most of what we've seen in East Asia is due to the environment, it is not genetic", contrary to the common belief 50 years ago.

Morgan said children who spent two to three hours outside every day were "probably reasonably safe".

The ones who are at major risk are the ones who study hard and don't get outside," he said.

"The amount of time they spend on computer games, watching television can be a contributing factor. As far as we can tell, it is not harmful in itself, but if it is a substitute for getting outside, then it is."

According to the study, the most myopic school-leavers in the world are to be found in cities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Researchers found that the average primary school pupil in Singapore, where up to nine in 10 young adults are myopic, spent only about 30 minutes outdoors every day - compared to three hours for children in Australia where the myopia prevalence among children of European origin is about 10 per cent.

The figure in Britain was about 30 to 40 per cent and in Africa "virtually none" - in the range of two to three per cent, according to Morgan.

More than other groups, children in East Asia "basically go to school, they don't go outside at school, they go home and they stay inside. They study and they watch television", Morgan said.

He said ways must be found to get children to spend more time in reasonably bright daylight without compromising their schooling.

"It is going to require some sort of structural change in the way a child's time is organised in East Asia because there is so much commitment to schooling and there is also a habit of taking a nap at lunchtime, which is, from our perspective, prime myopia prevention time," Morgan said.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies 
(Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/05/20125416826870694.html)

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