Eye doctors say they are seeing more children—many of whom were in virtual school—with new and worsening prescriptions for myopia or near-sightedness. Rates of myopia in children were already increasing globally before the pandemic. However, some research suggests the past year has exacerbated the problem.
A leading theory behind rising myopia rates posits that when children look at screens or books for prolonged periods, the eye adjusts to accommodate a close focus, which may change and elongate the shape of the eye, leading to myopia. Likewise, decreased outdoor time may increase and worsen myopia, as people tend to look farther away when they’re outside. Natural light and physical activity outdoors may also play a role.
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