How sunlight can cure short-sightedness? Explained
According to experts, spending in just two hours a day can prevent children from short-sightedness as the sunlight works as an antidote.
“Soaking up the sun can prevent short-sightedness. But that does not mean sports. Make sure the child is exposed to sunlight, any time after dawn and before dusk,” says Dr. Rohit Saxena, professor of ophthalmology at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
The most common reason for short-sightedness is eyeballs getting elongated, because of which the light entering the eyes does not focus on the retina, causing distant images to appear blurry. A study conducted by Jacinth J Priscilla and Verkicharla concluded that the prevalence of myopia among urban Indian children of the 5-15 age group increased from 4.44 per cent in 1999 to 21.15 per cent in 2019.
Short-sightedness; a silent epidemic
Dr. Pavan Verkicharla, scientist and head of INFOR Myopia Centre at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad claimed that India is facing a silent epidemic of short-sightedness that is being overlooked.
“It is estimated that by 2050, five out of 10 children in urban India will be myopic if effective interventions are not adopted at the earliest,” Dr. Verkicharla told Times of India. Experts in the business have claimed that 7 per cent of rural children in the 5-15 age group are myopic.
How Sunlight can help?
Sunlight triggers dopamine, a neurotransmitter released in the brain that can impact refractive development. According to Dr. Rohit Shetty, high levels of dopamine can protect the eyeball from showing excessive growth, which in turn keeps short-sightedness at bay.
What causes short-sightedness?
Excessive near work contributes to short-sightedness. Children stuck at home during the pandemic resorted to online classes for up to 10 hours a day. The smaller screens of these phones added to the amount of near work.
Untreated shot-sightedness of -6D or more can lead to irreversible blindness and severe retinal problems. Treatment and management of short-sightedness include medical management and using prescription glasses/contact lenses.