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Myopia from 1971 to 2004

on December 17th, 2009 | Filed under Optoblog

So the NIH sponsored a study published in Archives of Ophthalmology about myopia prevalence and severity over about 30 years. Bloomberg tries to pin it on texting and web surfing, quoting the lead author of the study for a reference. And why not blame computers since no one used them back in 1971? But it’s funny how the full text of the study doesn’t even mention texting or web surfing.

So…no one thinks that genetics could possibly be a bigger factor than near point stress? People in the 70s didn’t read or something? Isn’t the prevalence of many diseases increasing since our ability to treat them is increasing, like type 1 diabetes? Here’s what struck me from the study:

A review [of the literature] concluded that increasing levels of education combined with possible genetic susceptibility are likely to be responsible for the reported increases in the prevalence of myopia.

Possible genetic susceptibility??? Umm, let’s think about this. The study acknowledges that myopia is easy to treat. No one is being selected against because they can’t see stuff (enemy soldiers, criminals, dangerous obstacles, wild animals) since we correct those who care with glasses, contacts, and LASIK so they don’t get blindsided by those baddies. There is no law or even a social mos stopping these myopic people from hooking up with others of their kind and breeding like rabbits.

There’s no doubt that near point stress contributes to some myopia, but when two myopes marry and have six kids, which plays the more important factor in myopia prevelance from 1970 to 2004? Especially when today you could theoretically not even know your mate has contacts or LASIK until after you’re married. (The glasses they had back in the 70s acted effectively as birth control.)

Identifying modifiable risk factors for myopia could lead to the development of cost-effective interventional strategies.

If people are really out there ringing their hands because they’re so fearful of their kid getting more than 1 diopter of myopia, how come more parents aren’t willing to pay the price for Ortho-K lenses? Even still, the myopic gene is still there.

I’ll tell you what attitude needs changing: that myopia is bad. What’s wrong with it? Sure, if the global warming Stalinists get their way and we return to human populations as they existed in 3000 B.C., then myopia will become a problem for those Post-Algore-and-John-Holdren survivors trying to muck out an existence without modern conveniences like ophthalmic lenses and iPods.

I don’t need an intervention. I can marry whomever I choose and not abort any babies. You can throw away your laptop and iPhone if you want to. You can keep your kids from going to school. You can quit your job and become a prison tower guard (the only career I could think of that has to look far away all day). All I need are my Ciba Night and Day contacts, and I’m good.

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2 Responses to “Myopia from 1971 to 2004”

  1. Tyler says:

    I really like your writing style- not only is your blog content filled with good information and easy to read, you make it humorous and personal instead of cold and monotone. Keep up the good work!

  2. Uh, thanks, Tyler. Kind of needlessly complementary, especially considering my controversial assertions on the subject.

    By the way, I thought of some ways myopia can be bad. If you get a moderate to high Rx, and you can’t wear contacts, then your glasses are thick or expensive.

    If you need glasses and contacts, you expend more compared to somebody who doesn’t wear them.

    What else is bad about myopia? I want to know because it seems to me it’s not all that bad.