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Indoor Myopia Explained

February 14, 2017

Qualities of indoor lighting may lead to nearsightedness.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Preventing nearsightedness in kids. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a result of the eye growing too long during childhood, so images don’t focus properly on the retina. There’s evidence that it results from children spending too much time indoors. Now, in the journal Current Biology, Northwestern ophthamologist Greg Schwartz and his colleagues report on a cell in the retina that may be responsible. The cell detects the sharpness of images, and controls how the eye grows to optimize the focus. Schwartz says the cell is super sensitive to red-green contrast, a quality of indoor light.

GREG SCHWARTZ (Northwestern University):

So that would hyperactively activate the cell, overstimulate it, and potentially lead to overgrowth of the eyes.

HIRSHON:

He says understanding the cell could not only help prevent myopia, but could also be relevant to more serious vision disorders. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon