For a long time, genetic factors have been mentioned as the main cause of
myopia. But recently, Prof. Ian Morgan of the Australian National University
said in a prominent scientific journal Nature that "myopia spreads like an
epidemic in Asian countries because people have not seen enough sunlight".
According to the research team, it is estimated that 90% of today's children
are nearsighted, compared with 10-20% of youth in East Asia 60 years ago and
the increase in myopia seems too rapid for only genetic reasons. In line with
this, the Chinese government recently issued a "management and action plan
for preventing myopia of children and adolescents," including encouragement
of the appropriate use of lighting and outdoor activities. It is interpreted as
a policy that takes into account the negative effects on vision by the use of
inadequate artificial light that emits excessive blue light.
Fig. 1 Estimated myopia prevalence in 20-years-olds in
East Asian countries
How can sunlight help maintain
Scientists explain it as an action
of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Exposure to sunlight spectrum increases
the amount of dopamine in the eye, which inhibits its growth and leads to
proper eye development. As a result, the eyeballs of children who do not see
enough sunlight grow excessively and become myopia. So, experts advise that
getting plenty of sunlight can help prevent myopia.
Fig. 2 Myopia induced
by eye overgrowth
A-Young Lee Ph.D
Head of Our Healthcare Committee
* Next week’s topic: Quantum properties of light and matter
You can find "Interesting Story about Light Science” series on the link below.