While the human race is busy chasing after the killer diseases that pose challenges to the very human existence, silently some other disease which we least concern about might be causing equally potential dangers. These are mostly overlooked or ignored trivial matters hence least is of our least concern. When our eye read the word ‘epidemic’ our brain might relate it to a number of diseases that human kind had feared- till the remedies were discovered- over ages.
Myopia or ‘Short -sightedness (aka near-sightedness) in laymen’s language would probably be the least name that we might think of while we think about epidemics. We see the world through our eyes and the human eye has the screen called Retina, where the images we see are focused. Myopia is the condition of the eye where the image focuses before falling into the retina, thus distance object lack clarity. A myopic eye can only see a blurry image which is at a distance and this could be corrected by using a correcting lens. In the recent 30 years the world has witnessed the number of spectacle wearers to correct their myopic vision has dramatically increased.
Studies show that the myopic epidemic is alarmingly increasing in Asia, East Asian countries in particular, and if not addressed shortly may even lead to a large chunk of blindness by 2050. Among the many reasons cited, there are few closely interrelated reasons that I would like to highlight.
The Pressure on Education
Among the world demography the Asian population is more obsessed with education. These are the regions of the world where a large chunk of middle class population live and with these parents educating their kids in the best possible way finds the top priority, for they believe and view education as the only mean that assures a safe future for their children. Hence the pressure on education builds up domestically and the education institutions just second this approach. Thus an Asian pupil is more pressurized to read more and learn more- than their western counterparts- which naturally strains eye. Asian students spend most of their early lives reading. This doubled with the lack of nutrition invites myopia as early as in the primary level itself. For instance choose any primary classroom in any school at random and you are more likely to spot at least a dozen kids among a class of say 40 sporting spectacles due to myopia.
After the software boom, Asians – Indians and Chinese to be precise- are more attracted to the industry and needless to say any software company globally, among its workforce, has more number of Asian programmers. These ITians have no choice but to stare at the screens for hours. Not just these professionals, but every one of us in general has to stare at the computer screens to do something pertaining to our work, owing to the increased digital dependency.
Changing Trends in Leisure
Besides professional requirements the leisure and entertainment too lately are imprisoned to screens. From reading to gaming, viewing television to watching cinema, one is forced to glare at the glowing screens. Like we saw before the parents who are more concerned about their child’s education, in most of the cases allow digital entertainment without much complaints, for it is perceived as a better option to retain the kid indoors, who otherwise would want to go out and play, which might be time consuming.
Mobile phones and tablets have become the most loved personal gadgets. These devices are handy and provide ample privacy in most easy ways. Asian youth today either read and learn or remain glued to their television screens or gadget screens. Hence either way they keep their engaged and strained.
Like I said already, all the reasons stated here are closely entwined and can only be addressed by getting back to older lifestyle. Staying indoors shuns the possibility of nurturing the skin with Vitamin-D that Sun showering out there upon us every day for free. The deficiency of vitamin-D is one of the main reasons of steep rise in myopic epidemic.
Switch off the TV and shut down the devices go out biking. Leave the play station consoles and step into play grounds and get something real.