What is Myopia ? | UPSC

What is Myopia ? | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

Soak in the Sun, sleep early and tight to avoid myopia

      WHY IN NEWS:

At this rate, by 2050, 64 million children in urban India may have myopia

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS it is important to understand the symptoms , causes and the treatment for Myopia .

For MAINS take a note of Policy Recommendations mentioned below . Let us dive in !

      ISSUE: 

There is a need for awareness among parents to control the use of near-vision devices such as smartphones.

  • Myopia or shortsightedness is turning out to be an epidemic across India, and indeed even more in Southeast Asia.

It occurs because of the potential role of myopic genes and also local environmental conditions.

  • These conditions are : prolonged ‘near work’ and/or less sunlight exposure, and not because of any infection due to harmful germs.

WHAT IS MYOPIA?

  • Myopia occurs when the eyeball becomes longer, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and the lens; this leads to focus not on the surface of the retina, but at a point before it.

The most common symptoms of myopia are squinting, eye strain, headaches and fatigue.

  • Also ,Myopia (nearsightedness) is a refractive error.
  • Refractive error is when the eye does not bend (refract) light properly.
  • Light does not focus correctly so images are not clear.

In myopia, close objects look clear but distant objects appear blurred. 

  • In the year 2000, about 25% of the world’s population was near-sighted or myopic, but it is expected to increase to above 50% by 2050 (30 years from now).

What is Myopia ? | UPSC

DIRE PREDICTIONS

  • 64 million children (aged 5-15 years) living in urban regions of the country alone will have myopia by the year 2050, if no interventions are made to control it.

While many factors are known to counteract this problem, recent studies indicate less time spent outdoors to be a risk factor for myopia

  • Ambient levels of light during daytime tend to be over 10 to 100 times brighter than that indoors.
  • If you are in an open space, and not performing any ‘near work’, the stress on the eye is reduced.
  • Outdoor environment provides equal optical stimuli to various parts of the peripheral retina (the posterior part of the eye).

It also enables exposure to different colours(the so called VIBGYOR) , while indoor lighting using artificial sources that cut off specific wavelengths.
 

  • Upon bright illumination in sunlight, the pupil reduces its size and reduces blur, and increase the depth of focus.
  • Sunlight exposure helps the biology of the eye, helping it to produce more vitamin D.
  • Exposure to bright light releases the hormone dopamine, which controls the length of the eye ball; the shorter it is, myopia might set in.

Increasing time in outdoor environment could counteract the rising prevalence of myopia in Indian school-going children.

OTHER FACTORS

  • Intense educational pressure from the family and teachers to achieve academic excellence.
  • Excessive homework
  • Attending coaching classes (invariably held late in the evening, or before school timing for entrance exams) rob high school children of sunlight.

MYOPIA TREATMENT

There is no best method for correcting myopia.

  • EYEGLASSES AND CONTACT LENSES : Eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common methods of correcting myopia symptoms. They work by refocusing light rays on the retina.
  • ORTHOKERATOLOGY : This method uses a series of hard contact lenses to slowly flatten the cornea and reduce myopia. It involves sleeping in hard contact lenses every night.

This has been associated with an elevated risk of serious, vision-threatening eye infections. 

  • LOW-DOSE ATROPINE : Low-dose atropine (0.01%) has emerged as an effective approach to slow the progression of myopia in children and adolescents.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that eye exercises, vitamins or pills can prevent or cure myopia.

  • REFRACTIVE SURGERY : In many cases, people may choose to correct myopia with LASIK or another form of refractive surgery.

These surgical procedures improve your vision by reshaping the cornea

Refractive surgeries for myopia include:

  • LASIK,
  • Epi-LASIK,
  • PRK,
  • SMILE, and
  • Refractive lens exchange.

POLICY SUGGESTIONS

  • Mandatory 60 minutes of recess time in all schools during the school hours every day, by locking the classrooms to keep the students in sunlight.

Have a structured recess time incorporated into all their curricula.

  • Make it mandatory for schools to have enough space for playgrounds.
  • Create public awareness among parents about the importance of proper eyesight and control the use of near-vision devices such as smartphones.
  • Recommend/promote community centres in each locality to organise outdoor programmes weekly or at least twice a month.

MANY REASONS

  • All these are obvious and yet not followed, due to economic, financial, real estate and sociologicalreasons.
  • But at least schools and colleges in the hands of the State and Central governments should attempt to do so.
  • Sleeping late is a risk factor for myopiadevelopment amongst school-aged children.

Few identified a number of risk factors for myopia, such as family history, genetics, urban living environment.
 

  • Recent studies also indicate that shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality are associated with the development of myopia.
  • They disturb the circadian rhythm of the body, particularly in the brain, and also strain the retina.

Thus, early to bed and deep sleep are preventive measures against the onset of myopia.

  • Again, we know that this, too, is becoming difficult with online teaching through web classes.
  • With the use of television as an instructive medium, particularly for poorer children in rural areas who do not have smartphones.
  • While this may be inevitable during these lockdown days.
  • It should not become an inevitable teaching method, and schools must reopen and conduct classes during daytime.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Nearsightedness is the most common vision problem.
  • Currently, about 1.5 billion people worldwide (nearly a quarter of the global population) are nearsighted.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | What is Myopia ? | UPSC

 

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