causes and incidence of myopia

Because the incidence of myopia is increasing with every decade that goes by, a serious focus on the causes of such visual deterioration seems essential.

Traditionally, myopia has been treated as a genetic weakness, an unavoidable development inherent in the growth of a child. It was assumed that the outer layers of the eyeball were hereditarily weak, and that the stretching of the eye into an elongated shape was a natural occurrence for a certain percentage of the population.

It does appear valid to associate myopia with a change in the shape of the eyeball. Direct measurement of the distance from the outer surface of the cornea to the surface of the retina does demonstrate that myopic eyes are longer than normal eyes, causing the visual image to come into focus somewhere in front of the retina rather than directly on it.

Studies of various populations throughout the world have shown that myopia occurs with different frequencies in different cultures and environments. For instance, people who live a simple peasant life in rural areas are relatively free of myopic complications, with less then 5 per cent of the population needing glasses. People who live in cities and who are well-educated participants in the complexities of contemporary civilization show a marked increase in myopia. A recent study of a graduating class of college seniors showed that over 50 per cent of them had developed myopic difficulties.

Purely genetic factors could not account for such a difference incidence of myopia. Furthermore, the constantly increasing rate of myopia amongst a general population over a period of less than seventy-five years cannot be explained by any genetic-causation theory.

There seem to be numerous other contributory factors. A look at these will give us a starting point in discussing methods of correcting myopic conditions, and perhaps of helping to prevent the next generations from having to develop the condition at all.

See the next post as we will continue with our discussion on cuses and natural cure of myopia..


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