What is Myopia ? | UPSC
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
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 !
- Myopia or shortsightedness is turning out to be an epidemic across India, and indeed even more in Southeast Asia.
- 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.
- 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 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- LOW-DOSE ATROPINE : Low-dose atropine (0.01%) has emerged as an effective approach to slow the progression of myopia in children and adolescents.
- REFRACTIVE SURGERY : In many cases, people may choose to correct myopia with LASIK or another form of refractive surgery.
Refractive surgeries for myopia include:
- SMILE, and
- Refractive lens exchange.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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