Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

August 23, 2010 -

A study undertaken by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong indicates that near-sightedness (myopia) has increased significantly over a 10-year period in the youth of that region, and handheld videogames were given most of the blame.

The study was actually carried out between 2006 and 2007 and involved over 800 kids between the ages of two and six. Results were then compared to a similar study undertaken in 1996. It was reported that the number of cases of near-sightedness rose from 157 kids to 222, and that the number of children wearing glasses rose from 2.3 percent in the older study to 6.3 percent in the newer one.

Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, Chairman of the school’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences pinned the blame on “playing video games - especially in moving vehicles - and watching television or using a computer for a long time and sitting too close to screens…” according to The Standard.

Lam suggested regular eye checks for kids once they are three years old, increasing outdoor activities and teaching young readers to look off into the distance for 30 seconds for every 30 minutes they read.


Comments

Re: Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

I was under the impression that playing games/using computers/sitting too close to screens actually had no long term effects on ones vision.  Sure, it may make your eyes tired or sore, but it shouldn't affect the quality of your vision.

At one time those various warnings your mom gave you were to protect you from either the radiation given off by old TVs, or to prevent eyestrain (not a permanent problem).

As far as I'm concerned, its only natural more people develop nearsightedness.  It's not like we as a species need perfect vision to see a far off predator/prey anymore.

Basically, there is some debate about TV/computer/games influence on our vision, but a majority of eye doctors agree that they are not a significant cause of concern for anything other than eyestrain.

Re: Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

I think it depends partly on, as you say, whether people are using mostly Flatscreen or CRT tech, there was certainly problems with CRT and vision, to the point where many companies will actually pay for the eyetests and glasses for VDU users.

Re: Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

For once, I can see the argument that games play a role in this one.

Though it should also be pointed out that factors such as stress levels (common in china's middle class preparing their kids for social advancement) and diet (high carb and high sugar diets are both being studied as causes) could do it too.  For that matter, exessive studying (again, back to expectations of social advancement, an increasing problem in a country where you can only have one child to pin your hopes and dreams of retirement on) can have as much of an effect.

Re: Myopia Rises in Honk Kong Youth, Games Share Blame

I think it also comes from the increase of computers in the Workplace to be honest, a similar problem happened in Europe when offices moved over to high levels of computerisation.

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