Thursday, March 25, 2010

Near-sightedness is on the rise in this country but the reasons arent entirely clear. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at a study on this problem in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Near-sightedness has been increasing dramatically in the United States in recent years, but the reasons are as blurry as some of the sufferers eyesight.

In near-sightedness, also called myopia, light that enters the eye is focused in front of the retina rather than directly on it, so that distant objects appear blurred. Near-sightedness can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.

Researchers at the National Eye Institute compared myopia statistics gathered in government surveys from 1971-1972 and 1999-2004.

Near-sightedness was much more common from 1999 to 2004 than it was 30 years ago. And myopia prevalence increased by more than 40 percent from 1999 to 2004, compared to a 25 percent increase in the early 1970s.

Previous studies have identified risk factors that include spending more time behind computers and TV sets, and playing video games.

An estimated 47 million Americans aged 20 and older are myopic and billions of dollars are spent annually on glasses and contact lenses.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.