It's a long article, but the essential point is that insufficient time spent in bright light >10k lux (roughly corresponding to being in shade on a bright day) during early childhood increases the risk of developing myopia.
Normal eye growth requires dopamine which is released in a circadian fashion, which requires exposure to bright/daylight. Absence of this dopamine cycle may cause the eyeball to be more elongated, leading to refractive errors.
The precise number of hours needed to prevent myopia is difficult to say, but studies in schools with even 40-mins extra have shown benefit, and there's some evidence supporting 3+ hours/day.
Importantly, it doesn't seem to matter how much close-focal work kids do, such as computer use/studying, as long as they spend sufficient time in bright light. I'd consider setting up a study desk in front of a large window, and taking breaks at school outdoors instead of inside.
"myopia was significantly higher in individuals with vitamin D deficiency":
> 'The most striking demonstration of this was a study in the late 60s of eyesight among Eskimoes in Barrow, Alaska. These people had been introduced to the joys of civilization around World War II. The incidence of myopia in those age 56 and up was zero percent; in parents age 30 and up, 8 percent; in their children, 59 percent.'
(Also, Cicil Adams is almost certainly not a single person.)
Or more specifically, elevated light levels causes a dopamine release which prevents myopia.
Not sure why the article needed to spend the first 2000 words not just saying that.
Now I dislike pointlessly long articles, and certainly this article could have used with an abstract to put forward the main thesis before delving into alternatives, but I don't think your criticism is entirely fair. It certainly didn't fit the pattern of the really long articles where the writer invariably talks about their childhood or some other barely relevant events before actually talking about the issue at hand.
However, if myopia is caused by misshapen eyeballs (the usual cause), then none of those exercises have been observed to be effective in any way.
And don't use argument of no economic benefit. There is always something to sell. See the middle link you have posted which is selling a $150/mo subscription to "reverse myopia"
Myopia.org is not pretty, but scammy, I dunno. And gettingstronger.org, look around there. It's not even a site about myopia, but he has some very relevant insights. Forum with a zillion posts discussing the topic. Also he sells nothing on there. So where's the scam potential? And Frauenfeld on "about myopia" has a ton of clinical research references. There is a giant PDF on that page with just about everything worth knowing about myopia.
If it matters most what the sites "look" like, sure. Not Apple.com, no quick fix answers. This topic does require some reading to find meaningful insights.
And cataract drops! "Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-hystidine), and its topical prodrug formulation N-acetylcarnosine (NAC), is advertised (especially on the internet) to treat a range of ophthalmic disorders associated with oxidative stress, including age-related and diabetic cataracts. No convincing animal studies or masked clinical trials have been reported"
This dude is a snakeoil salesman. The myopia.org site is just the bait.
gettingstronger.org: it has some, hm, interesting opinions that's for sure. He's a chemical engineer and philosopher, though, so not .. quite .. sure about his clinical expertise, especially with regard to myopia. No ads, not selling anything (on the surface) except his slightly-out-there ideas.
Frauenfeld Clinic: with clinic in the name, you immediately think it's run by a doctor -- right? Welllllll.... it was launched seven years ago by a "holistic ophthalmology practitioner" that signs his posts only with "Alex;" The current curator is "Jake Steiner," who claims to have fixed his own myopia with "this amazing program." His training in the area is self proclaimed as, "[...] tak[ing] dozens of classes in ophthalmology, stud[ying] optometry, and read[ing] tens of thousands of pages of myopia studies" His consults start at $10k.
Yeah, dude, you're propagating snake oil :)
Did you read the PDF with a whole lot of the interesting research on the subject? Pretty brilliant stuff there, and not related to selling of anything. Can't comment on Steiner consults, didn't see any way to actually buy or pay - looked to me more like a way to say "go ask somebody else", if I remember.
Also gettingstronger isn't very much out there on the myopia topic at all. Check out scholar.google.com and just type in the keywords that Todd talks about. That's some pretty established premises, that hardly anybody is arguing against.
My point was to suggest some ways to work out the myopia problem. I for one used to depend on -3.00 glasses that I haven't needed in a few years, thanks to the ideas on those and other sites like it. It is fascinating how often it's more about being right, than looking into options (which can't really point at you there, you clearly looked at the sites). Pseudo myopia, near-induced transient myopia, lens-induced myopia, those are all very key pieces to the puzzle. The concept of the "dynamic eye", which changes specifically based on sight and focal plane, is another.
Put it all together, and you aren't necessarily stuck with glasses forever. :)
That is pathological myopia. Most myopia is not pathological myopia and is not inherited. (did you even read the article?) The site is bullshit, but so is your comment.
So it's not "more light" but "more intense light"
And don't forget the sunscreen
But that situation was very rare and in the other five or six jobs I've had in the journalism world, it hasn't been the case. And in fact journalistic style is to pack as much into the first sentence as you can. This is a long, analytical feature piece by a major journal's news department. If you want the brief version, find a rewrite by AP or a blog.
This article is a "feature" (not entirely sure what that implies) in a scientific journal (targeted towards a relatively general audience, compared to other scientific journals). Is this particular publication, or this type of publication, known to pay by the word?
Which other publications pay by the word?
Is it more common in some areas of publication than others?
How could such an incentive-perverting mechanism not have died off by now?
Do any companies still pay/evaluate their developers by lines of code written?
Also, the minus lens creates focal plane stimulus inside the eye that prompts axial elongation. Lots of studies on this subject, it's basically uncontested. What you really don't want to be doing is wear a lens that gives you sharp distance vision, while working up close. You want to have a specific reduced prescription for close-up, that just gives you correction to the distance you need.
Breaks, also. Initial myopia is a ciliary (focusing muscle) spasm. Lots of studies there too, look for pseudo myopia or NITM (near induced transient myopia). Part of your current deficiency is ciliary, part is axial elongation. Take an hour break every three hours. Get outside. Focus at a distance. Your ciliary muscle isn't meant to be all tensed up (close-up use) all day.
For more on the subject, take a look at www.frauenfeldclinic.com, those guys are fairly awesome.
The amount of light in the shade outdoors, or on an overcast day, is around 12 EV . A bright indoors office with fluorescent lights is around 8EV. This means that the human eye will be receiving 16 times more light in the outdoor shade, compared to even a bright indoors room. That's a big difference that has nothing to do with the source of the light.
Common sense also dictates that fluorescent lights did not get popular in homes until the last 10 years due to the rise of CFLs, and yet kids grown up in the 1970s have increased myopia rates- the source of the myopia therefore cannot be due to the indoor lights.
Which means that 10% of university-aged people in East Asia are going to develop irreversible vision loss. This sounds too terrible to be true. Am I missing something here? I interpret vision loss as blindness, but maybe it is used to describe degraded vision instead?
I believe the prevailing theory is when you focus near, your lenses expand pushing on the aqueous humor, causing expansion of the eyeball. When you focus far, they shrink, but these lenses don't pull the eyeball back in because they aren't connected to the front or back of the eyeball. This is why people with myopia often have increased intraocular pressure. I don't understand how this fits in with the findings in this article though.
I have never heard of anyone becoming less nearsighted. And even presbyopia is simply when your lens cannot change anymore, it doesn't actually shrink your eyeballs.
It seems like the optical industry is content with making a lot of money constantly prescribing stronger glasses every year or lasik which has significant risks and doesn't stop the elongation.
Whoever cracks this problem will make a lot of money. But shrinking eyeballs is probably a very difficult task and easier and very profitable to just fix the symptoms. And most people don't become blind from this so it doesn't seem like a priority.
May be different for living tissue. I wonder if there might be some brace developed to reshape the eye ball, that could be eventually removed. Of course the implant procedure might be incredibly, prohibitively invasive.
I never had issues with my vision. Then I developed Myopia. I have always felt that it was related to my late night computing.
It took me two years to figure this out. My screen was a fuzzy mess for those two years. Had progressing myopia during that period.
Myopia stabilized after that.
Edit: Found the support doc for this. Ah, 60hz default.
I've been wearing glasses since I was 7 years old and my prescription hasn't changed since I was about 16. But my doctor said that it was going to keep progressing while I'm still developing then stop until I start hitting age problems.
Your timing seems to correlate well with growth spurts that people have in high school. I didn't have mine, still short. So your myopia might be less because of the bad screen and more because a lot of people first develop bad eyes when they go through puberty.
My mother is also a programmer and has horrible eyesight as well, but she grew up on a farm and had never even seen a computer prior to college, so maybe my myopia is mostly inherited.
I was 18 so around that time I started college and used iMacs and those gray standalone screens that matched G4 towers. All the lighting in computer labs came from fluorescent lights. And all those screens were CFL backlit.
This is when I started having pain in my eyes and became nearsighted. Only needed 0.5 correction at first, progressed to 3.5 since then.
I found this interesting too: http://www.katysays.com/pumpkin-eyes-and-pelvic-floors/
Why not, instead of limiting children exposure to computers and kicking them outside, just paint the wall behind their computer white and point 100W worth of LEDs at it?
I'm sure (s)he will spend at least 3 hours per day in that environment without trauma associated with forcefully exposing the child to boredom of outside.
EDIT: Yes, yes. I know. Being outside and kicking ball has lots of other benefits. But still... People are not doing it today despite potential obesity that predictably can kill you and they won't start doing it due to potential myopia that will force you to wear glasses. So why not go with pragmatic solution?
I feel like there should be some other correlates if light is a dominating factor, such as between geography and myopia (should see some trends around super-cloudy vs. super-sunny areas).
I was home schooled through fourth grade. Lots of time spent outdoors, even on school related things (setting up little rubber army men in the sandbox when studying the revolutionary war, for example). My eyesight was quite good, despite spending quite some time on the computer (balanced, of course, with out-door activities).
Half-way through my first year in public school, I needed glasses. My eyesight went from 20/20 to ~20/80 in less than five months. 20 years later, it's around 20/300 - though fairly stable for the last ten years.
I think that cycling helps my eyesight. If I cycle in to town then, for survival reasons, I am fully testing out my eyes. It does not matter what time of day this is, going through traffic or rolling home late at night on empty roads, I am really working those eyes. I get to look to the far horizon as well as those quick glances over the shoulder. Thinking about it, I cannot think of a better eye exercise!
As well as the normal light I also get enhanced levels of UV reflected from the road during the summer months.Normally we try to bar UV with glazing so I am just rebalancing the spectrum if non-visible light is bouncing off the tarmac.
So, if I was calling the shots here on planet earth I would mandate that all children cycle to school. For comedy value I would make the punishment for those that drove their kids in be harsh - eyes scooped out and donated to medical science. For now, in the run up to the introduction of that I would want public information campaigns that just tell parents that driving their kids to school makes them go blind, which is totally true.
I was diagnosed with myopia at around 7 years of age. I had -1. I went and got prescription glasses. The guys there fudged it up and gave me +1. I wore those for more than a year, but I could not, for the love of me, see with them. My parents were FURIOUS I did not wear them. I kept telling them I couldn't actually see anything with them. They made things worse. But no dice, they thought I was just being stubborn. Anyways, I get another checkup after a year, they realized the error.
On the second checkup, I had -1,75. Either the +1 glasses exacerbated my myopia, did nothing for it, or actually helped curve it, I could not say. I think it made things worse. And it was a pain in the ass having to wear something that made things worse and have people lash on me because they thought I was just being stubborn by not wearing them.
There's circumstantial evidence to suggest that eating white rice can exacerbate myopia. And asians eat lots of white rice. I found my eyesight deteriorating and cut white rice out of my diet. I think it's stopped now.
You could almost make an opposite case that rice consumption decreases myopia but most likely there is no link whatsoever.
I guess we need to update what "well lit" means.