Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Sun Is the Best Optometrist
New York Times ^ | SANDRA AAMODT and SAM WANG

Posted on 06/22/2011 2:36:23 PM PDT by nickcarraway

WHY is nearsightedness so common in the modern world? In the early 1970s, 25 percent of Americans were nearsighted; three decades later, the rate had risen to 42 percent, and similar increases have occurred around the world.

There is significant evidence that the trait is inherited, so you might wonder why our myopic ancestors weren’t just removed from the gene pool long ago, when they blundered into a hungry lion or off a cliff. But although genes do influence our fates, they are not the only factors at play.

In this case, the rapid increase in nearsightedness appears to be due to a characteristic of modern life: more and more time spent indoors under artificial lights.

Our genes were originally selected to succeed in a very different world from the one we live in today. Humans’ brains and eyes originated long ago, when we spent most of our waking hours in the sun. The process of development takes advantage of such reliable features of the environment, which then may become necessary for normal growth.

Researchers suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s developing eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina — which keeps vision in focus. Dim indoor lighting doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of feedback. As a result, when children spend too many hours inside, their eyes fail to grow correctly and the distance between the lens and retina becomes too long, causing far-away objects to look blurry.

One study published in 2008 in the Archives of Ophthalmology compared 6- and 7-year-old children of Chinese ethnicity living in Sydney, Australia, with those living in Singapore. The rate of nearsightedness in Singapore (29 percent) was nearly nine times higher than in Sydney.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Outdoors; Science
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 06/22/2011 2:36:24 PM PDT by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

My wife and I are very nearsighted, but I cannot explain why our kids do not need glasses.


2 posted on 06/22/2011 2:40:00 PM PDT by yawningotter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Being indoors more and more is only part of the problem. It’s what one does while indoors that makes a bigger impact on vision (i.e. being in front of computer monitors for hours on end, watching television constantly, etc.). Or, at least, that’s what I think.


3 posted on 06/22/2011 2:42:33 PM PDT by camerongood210 ( Matthew 24)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I blame Congress. :)


4 posted on 06/22/2011 2:43:54 PM PDT by Sporke (USS-Iowa BB-61)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Duh - have these people been living under a flat rock.

For more than a hundred years it's been well known that you can go to a remote area where almost no one is nearsighted, introduce a certain function to them, and within 50 years near sightedness will be over 30%.

That function?

Reading.

Unfortunately, forcing your eyes to focus closely on the printed page has the effect of eventually making them longer. Groups that focus primarily at a distance, and have no real reason for close focusing, have practically no nearsighted members.

In all the parts of the world we've gone to "civilize" nearsightedness followed shortly thereafter.

5 posted on 06/22/2011 2:44:09 PM PDT by I cannot think of a name
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

As one who has worn glasses since I was 13, I do believe this whole piece is poppycock. We didn’t even have a tv until I was 15. And, I spent lots of hours in the sun. Balderdash!!!!!


6 posted on 06/22/2011 2:44:57 PM PDT by Parmy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

So taking the children to the beach can save lots of money in optometrists at long term? Sounds good to me.


7 posted on 06/22/2011 2:44:59 PM PDT by Moose Burger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moose Burger

Bushs’ fault (couldn’t resist :-))


8 posted on 06/22/2011 2:51:35 PM PDT by MotherRedDog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Moose Burger

Bushs’ fault (couldn’t resist :-))


9 posted on 06/22/2011 2:51:40 PM PDT by MotherRedDog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: camerongood210

Nope. Sounds resonable — computers.


10 posted on 06/22/2011 2:51:48 PM PDT by dhs12345
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Nothing new under the sun?

BELOW is a transcript of pages 169-170 from the book TOTAL VISION which I read way back in the early 80’s .
Light, in addition to being necessary for vision, stimulates both the pituitary and pineal glands and possibly other regions of the mid-brain which control the endocrine system and the production of hormones. It is not only the portion of the spectrum which we can see that is important, but also the bands that are present but not visible to the naked eye. The process is not unlike the photosynthesis of plants. Without certain ultraviolet wavelengths human hormone production is altered.

Several researchers working at various medical centers and laboratories throughout the country have found that when any part of the natural sunlight spectrum is blocked from entering the eye for a long period of time, abnormalities may develop. Women living above the Aortic Circle, where the night goes on for three months at a stretch during the winter, are likely to become infertile then because they stop ovulating. When sunlight returns, so does fertility.

Perhaps the most startling relationship disclosed concerning limited-spectrum lighting is the linking to it of some types of cancer. At least a half-dozen animal studies have come up with the same conclusion: reduced spectrum lighting influences the growth and the incidence of some types of cancer. Anything other than the full spectrum appears to change the course of nature.

And when the few reports of remission of terminal cancer in humans are looked at, a connecting link in a number of the cases appears to be getting plenty of natural sunlight. The people decided to spend their last days outdoors in the sun. One such story was reported a dozen years ago in TIME magazine: the man quit going to his office and started reading in a rocking chair on his back porch and tending roses in his garden. His cancer disappeared.

In a 1959 study with 15 cancer patients at Bellevue Medical Center in New York City, the doctor conducting the research said that while it was difficult to make a definite evaluation, it was her opinion and that of her assistants that 14 of the patients showed no further growth of the cancerous tumors after spending a summer outdoors as much as possible, without wearing sunglasses or prescription lenses.

Subsequently, it was learned that the one patient whose condition detiorated at the expected rate did not understand the instructions and had continued to wear her prescription lenses when outdoors. The glasses naturally blocked the ultraviolet rays from reaching her eyes.

It appears that not only do we need sunlight on our skin to provide vitamin D from the ultraviolet rays, we also need invisible rays to reach our eyes, where the nerve fibers in the retina react to stimulate the master glands of the body. (Longwave blacklight ultraviolet rays are the beneficial ones; shortwave ultraviolet, which is filtered from natural sung light by the atmosphere before reaching us, is so harmful to living tissue that lamps which emit only those bands are used to sterilize implements. Shortwave ultraviolet is also the spectrum emitted from sunlamps, and it has been shown in animal tests that the over-exposure is harmful, possibly causing skin cancer.)

A prominent light researcher, John Ott, tells in his book, Health Light, of a conversation he had with the daughter of the late Dr. Albert Schweitzer:

” Our conversation dwelt mostly on her experiences as assistant to her father at Lambarene, on the west coast of Africa. I asked her about the rate of cancer of the people in that area, and she replied that when her father had first started the hospital, they found no cancer at all, but that now it was a problem. I asked if the people living there had started installing glass windows and electric lights in their otherwise simple surroundings and she said they had not.
“Then I half jokingly asked her if any of the natives wore sunglasses. She looked startled and then told me that the natives paddling their dugout canoes up and down the river in front of the hospital often wore no more than a loin cloth and sunglasses and indeed, some wore only the sunglasses. she further explained that sunglasses represented a status symbol of civilization and education and had a higher bartering blue than beads and other such trinkets. There is, of course, no scientific proof of a correlation between the wearing of sunglasses and cancer, but it does raise an interesting question.”


11 posted on 06/22/2011 2:52:10 PM PDT by Anima Mundi (If you try to fail and you succeed , what have you just done?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moose Burger

Bushs’ fault (couldn’t resist :-))


12 posted on 06/22/2011 2:52:17 PM PDT by MotherRedDog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: yawningotter
My wife and I are very nearsighted, but I cannot explain why our kids do not need glasses.

Does make one wonder. As a kid I spent way more time outdoors than indoors. Yet I am very nearsighted. My 3 three kids (now adults) have 20/20 vision and they didn't spend nearly as much time outdoors as I did when I was a kid.

13 posted on 06/22/2011 2:55:24 PM PDT by mtg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: yawningotter

Today’s kids don’t read as much as you did, when you were a kid.


14 posted on 06/22/2011 3:05:11 PM PDT by Jonty30
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: MotherRedDog

Bushnell's Fault!

15 posted on 06/22/2011 3:14:20 PM PDT by mikrofon (WARNING: Do NOT Stare at Sun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

Well...THAT theory doesn’t explain my eyes....I’ve always READ, always...a lot....and no nearsightedness at all. I’m questioning whether it’s the “reading.”


16 posted on 06/22/2011 3:16:18 PM PDT by goodnesswins (...both islam and the democrat plantation thrive on poverty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Anima Mundi

Hmmm....so, do you think full spectrum lights help? My husband’s office is moving...to a space with NO WINDOWS!


17 posted on 06/22/2011 3:18:50 PM PDT by goodnesswins (...both islam and the democrat plantation thrive on poverty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: goodnesswins

No single activity will affect everybody the same way.


18 posted on 06/22/2011 3:21:48 PM PDT by Jonty30
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
WHY is nearsightedness so common in the modern world?

I don't buy it. I'm guessing most of us here can read this just fine:


19 posted on 06/22/2011 3:34:36 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (20/20000000000 vision myself)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name
Reading.

I think you're right. I started reading at three, needed glasses at seven. Same story with my daughter. But I'd rather be smart than sighted! 8^)

20 posted on 06/22/2011 3:38:54 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (20/20000000000 vision myself)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

bkmk


21 posted on 06/22/2011 3:48:00 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

“That function?

Reading. “

May be a good argument not to force your kids to be reading too early; let their eyes develop.


22 posted on 06/22/2011 4:04:10 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Nearsightedness is caused by the deformation of the shape of the eyeball that occurs when the eye muscles can’t relax. That’s why eye exercises work - they gently induce relaxation. This isn’t mystical mysteriousness. It’s based on the really complex observation of the behavior of all the other muscles in the body, and the jump of incredible insight and genius that says, “hey, maybe eye muscles are... muscles.”

Optometrists and opthamalogists (generally) call eye exercises bunk. But after doing eye exercises and getting rid of my glasses, I call optometrists and opthamalogists (generally) bunk.

Think it through - reading inside stresses the eye muscles in exactly the same way for many hours each day. What if you took a weight and did one arm exercise with it for the same number of hours each day - even a very light weight? You know what woud happen to your arm. So if your arm got tense, tight, spasmed, or otherwise unable to relax, would you do exercises to relieve it’s tightness and stretch it back into relaxation? Or would you follow the doctors orders and wear a sling for the rest of your life?


23 posted on 06/22/2011 4:04:28 PM PDT by Talisker (History will show the Illuminati won the ultimate Darwin Award.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Anima Mundi
Very well researched and presented.

The people who have made a science of growing (medical) marijuana indoors, know that there are two requirements for growing (beneficial) light — range (spectrum) and intensity (power).

Usually what is referred to as “artificial” light, is Edison's original incandescent light or the original fluorescents — which if they tried to grow plants, would fail to do so either — because they lack the necessary spectrum and power. So to compare that light with sunlight, is not an equivalent — but if they start talking about halides and the latest state of the art lighting, then it approximates natural (sun)light, including those tanning bulbs — that cause tanning, while you can lie naked under a regular lightbulb all your life and not get any tanning effect.

And particularly important is that range and intensity of light to health and growth of the eye and brain — despite optometrists (eye doctors) saying light doesn't matter. That is what you're seeing — some people more sensitive to these differences than others, just as some people can hear ranges of sound beyond what others can, or sense anything else (taste, smell, touch).

There's a tendency among the social scientists (the politically correct) to make an equivalency of everything — so that no distinctions (and discrimination) of anything anymore, is possible.

In many cases, a person just needs to optimize the lighting, not to need glasses — as often is the case when one uses an Ott light. Another alternative technology that works is the use of a pin-hole (reading glass) instead of
the polished optical glass — that many find helpful staring at computer screens all day, in reducing eye strain. Again, many optometrists (eye doctors) insist that it's not possible or doesn't make a difference when even they use a pinhole instrument to first detect whether one’s vision problem is refractive or eye disease of greater seriousness.

Other vision experts have claimed that they can correct vision defects with the proper training in how to see correctly — because all of our organs don't come with instruction manuals on how to use them properly, correctly and optimally, as most people have to discover on their own — or not.

That is often the case with one’s muscular development, as well as mental development, social, psychological, moral, spiritual, etc. Most often, we learn from those around us — but whole social strata (ghettoes) can often be dysfunctional in that way. That is a common cause of behavioral problems like obesity, addictions, codependencies and mental health issues.

24 posted on 06/22/2011 4:04:55 PM PDT by MikeHu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: goodnesswins
Obviously there are more factors than “just” reading, but in the main, reading is the culprit. The “mechanical” aspect of a person's eye also has a lot to do with it.

I've had a variety of eye problems for most of my life. While many doctors and specialist have offered a variety of advice, one constant among all of them, “for gosh sakes, don't sit at your desk and read all day, try to stand-up and focus your eyes on something on the horizon for at least five minutes every hour.”

I'm cool with it but my boss gets really annoyed.

25 posted on 06/22/2011 4:08:01 PM PDT by I cannot think of a name
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: camerongood210
Being indoors more and more is only part of the problem. It’s what one does while indoors that makes a bigger impact on vision (i.e. being in front of computer monitors for hours on end, watching television constantly, etc.). Or, at least, that’s what I think.

You're close, except for the television. Television is viewed at a distance that is comfortable for most people. A study of the Inuit peoples of Alaska in the 60's revealed that the eyes are adaptable. If you do a lot of close up work, your eyes will adapt and you'll develop myopia to make up close work more comfortable.

The Inuit had no written language prior to contact with Westerners. When we introduced reading to them, the incidences of myopia increased several magnitudes overnight.

26 posted on 06/22/2011 4:24:57 PM PDT by Melas (Sent via Galaxy Tab)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Charles Henrickson

I started reading at 5 and didn’t need glasses until I was 45, and then it was for reading not near sightedness. My distance vision is close to 20/20 now and I am 69. However, I can’t read much without my glasses.


27 posted on 06/22/2011 5:06:17 PM PDT by calex59
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Makes some sense.
Nearsighted me grew up in Cleveland, Oh where it’s perpetually cloudy.


28 posted on 06/22/2011 5:08:14 PM PDT by nascarnation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Anima Mundi
Women living above the Aortic Circle

Geez, I hope the book really didn't say that!

29 posted on 06/22/2011 5:49:37 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (Obama promised a gold mine, but will give us the shaft.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

My son reads books like they are candy, and has since learned to manage his extreme dyslexia in 1st grade. He got 4 theoretical physics books as an end-of-school present, and one week later, he’s nearly done. We also picked up about 30 books in the fall for him from a friend that was getting rid of them ... almost done. As well as all the AP reading he has had to do, and books he re-reads constanly (Stephen Hawking).

His vision is better than perfect (at 17). I got glasses at 12 and my husband at 16 ... we are both readers too, so no explanation for the boy ... except he is a 3-sport athlete, so he is outside a whole bunch. None of the four kids have glasses.


30 posted on 06/22/2011 6:17:28 PM PDT by lkco
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: yawningotter

Nearsightedness can occur if you do a lot of reading as a really young kid. If you do a lot of tasks and things that require a lot of intense close focus.


31 posted on 06/22/2011 6:31:55 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson