“SNUBBING the outdoors for books, video games and TV is the reason up to nine in 10 school-leavers in big east Asian cities are near-sighted.
Neither genes nor the mere increase in activities such as reading and writing is to blame, new research suggests, but a simple lack of sunlight.
Exposure to the sun’s rays is believed to stimulate production of the chemical dopamine, which stops the eyeball 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 said of the findings published in The Lancet medical journal.
Yet the average primary school pupil in Singapore, where up to nine in 10 young adults are myopic, spent only about 30 minutes outdoors each day – compared with 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”, Professor Morgan 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.”