22 Jun '11, 6am

Want to avoid short-sightedness in your kids? Let them play outside, say scientists

Why is near-sightedness so common in the modern world? In the early '70s, 25 per cent of Americans were near-sighted. Three decades later, the rate had risen to 42 per cent 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 were not 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 near-sightedness 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. Th...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Commentary/EDC110622-0000471/T...

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