Why Is Nearsightedness More Common Today?

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Over the centuries, medical treatments have all but eliminated many serious diseases. But in the world of optometry, there is one condition that has become much more common over the last several decades. That condition is myopia, more commonly called nearsightedness. Why is it that nearsightedness has become so much more common? The explanation is actually quite simple.

Before electricity, people strained to read by lantern light, damaging their eyesight. After Thomas Edison’s brilliant invention, reading in the evenings became a much simpler task that was easier on the eyes, and people’s eyesight remained good for much longer.

But in the last couple of decades, another invention has come along that has reversed that effect: the computer. In today’s technology-driven world, most people don’t go more than a few hours without using some kind of computer, whether it’s a desktop at work, a laptop at home, or their smartphone as they wait for a bus.

Staring at these small, bright screens for hours on end strains the eye and trains the cornea to focus on close objects more often. Over time, your cornea will change its shape in such a way that it can focus easily on near objects, but distant objects become blurry and difficult to see.

If you want to keep your eyesight good for longer, we strongly recommend limiting the amount of time that you spend looking at a computer screen. Some studies also suggest wearing reading glasses, even if they’re not needed, to minimize eye strain.

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