Why is short-sightedness increasing in children these days?

News Network
June 17, 2021

Myopia is on the rise. In the UK, the number of children with myopia has doubled in the last 50 years. Globally, it’s projected that by 2050 half of the world’s population will be myopic.

Although myopia – also known as near-sightedness or short-sightedness – can run in families, environmental factors, such as spending too much time indoors have a large influence.

For most people, myopia develops from a mixture of both genetics and environmental factors. But while evidence shows that modern lifestyle factors contribute to myopia, scientists still aren’t entirely sure why.

For instance, research shows that the amount of time a child spends outdoors can play a significant role in their risk of developing myopia.

Not only do most studies show that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia, studies requiring children to spend extra time outdoors during school hours have shown the rate of myopia onset decreased compared with children who didn’t spend additional time outdoors.

But researchers still aren’t quite sure why this is the case. One theory is that the higher levels of light outdoors releases more dopamine into our retinal receptors (the nerves that process light signals in the eye), thus protecting against myopia.

Another suggestion is that the greater amount of physical activity children typically get outdoors prevents myopia. But studies have now shown that this has little effect.

It’s also been suggested that the different patterns and details we see in outdoor versus indoor spaces might explain the increase in myopia.

For example, one study suggests that the abundance of plain features and walls in indoor environments is to blame. This may also be why myopia tends to be more common in urban areas, however, more research is needed to understand this.

Modern lifestyles

Nevertheless, modern lifestyles often require us to spend a lot of our time indoors. For example, children are spending longer in formal education thanks to increases in school leaving age and more people pursuing higher education, which evidence suggests can cause myopia.

Yet what aspects of formalised education are causing increases in myopia is still unknown. Prolonged reading, learning at close distances, time spent indoors and increased screen use might all be to blame.

While one study suggests reading at a distance closer than 25cm may be a risk for developing myopia, reading probably only has a small effect on developing myopia.

The effect of greater screen use on myopia in children also has mixed results – probably because estimating screen use and controlling it in a long-term experiment is difficult. Regardless, further research is needed to understand whether excessive screen use is to blame for higher rates of myopia, and why this is the case.

Given the risk factors for developing myopia, there are also concerns now that stay-at-home orders and home learning during the pandemic may have worsened children’s eyesight.

Although there has been no study yet looking at the effect on children in the UK, early results elsewhere suggest that the pandemic may cause more children to develop myopia – but it’s anticipated the effects will be small. Whether the pandemic will have caused permanent increases in myopia is also yet to be seen.

Currently, the best advice for limiting the risk of developing myopia is to increase time spent outdoors, even by 40 minutes a day. 
 

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News Network
January 14,2022

Two more legislators, belonging to the Apna Dal, an ally of the BJP, have resigned just ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled to take place next month.

Following his resignation, Chaudhary Amar Singh said: "This government is a liar and no development has been done. I met Akhilesh Yadav and will join him. Soon more people will join us."

He is likely to contest his Shohratgarh seat in Siddhartha Nagar on an SP ticket.

The other Apna Dal MLA R K Verma, who represents the Vishwanath Ganj seat of Pratapgarh, also announced that he is leaving the party.

Both the legislators blamed the Yogi Adityanath government for their leaving the alliance.

With the two new resignations, a total of 12 MLAs from the ruling alliance in Uttar Pradesh have quit, blaming the state government of being anti-backward.

Ten BJP MLAs, including three ministers, have quit the BJP since Tuesday.

It started with the exit of top minister Swami Prasad Maurya, followed by three MLAs close to him on the same day - Bhagwati Sagar, Roshan Lal Verma, and Brijesh Prajapati.

On Wednesday, another state minister Dara Singh Chauhan and MLA Avatar Singh Bhadana quit. Bhadana joined the RLD, an ally of the SP.

On Thursday, Minister Dharam Singh Saini, and three other BJP MLAs - Vinay Shakya, Mukesh Verma and Bala Awasthi - also left the party.

All three ministers who have quit are key OBC (Other Backward Class) leaders, claiming that the interests of the community are being neglected.

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News Network
January 13,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 13: Karnataka may witness 20,000 to 70,000 daily hospitalisations for Covid by the end of January or February 2.

These are the new projections made by researchers at the Indian Statistical Institute and Indian Institute of Science on Tuesday.

Similarly, projections made by the researchers for ICU bed requirement shows that the state will require 1,000 beds to more than 3,000 beds by February 2.

As per projections made by another group INDSCI-SIM (Indian Scientists’ Response to Covid-19), Karnataka, by January 25, will have 35,000 daily cases and 500 to 5,000 severe cases, based on whether individuals are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Prof Gautam Menon, professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, Haryana, who has worked on several Covid models and is a part of INDSCI-SIM, said, “Across the country, we expect six lakh to nine lakh new Covid cases to be reported at the peak between January 21 and February 10. By March, the curve will flatten. Another common thing with projections from other models is that the number of cases will be larger than the second wave.”

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) president Dr H M Prasanna said, “The state’s private sector does not have 1.4 lakh beds as is being reported. When the second wave started, we checked and there were only 66,000 beds. This is as per the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust portal. We don’t know when it increased. Maybe the government is factoring in medical college hospital beds.”

Estimating the number of beds in private hospitals, he said, there are around 6,500 private hospitals in Karnataka, apart from medical colleges.

“In all, there are 70,000 beds in private hospitals and medical colleges. In both the government and private sector, there may not be more than one lakh beds,” he said.

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News Network
January 25,2022

New Delhi, Jan 25: India's daily Covid-19 cases dipped below the 3-lakh mark on Tuesday as the nation logged 2,55,874 new infections, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The country recorded 614 fatalities over the past 24 hours.

The ministry said that active cases have decreased to 22,36,842 and comprise 5.62 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has decreased to 93.15 per cent.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization on Monday urged countries to work together to bring the acute phase of the pandemic to an end, saying that they now have all the tools available to do so.

A reduction of 12,493 cases has been recorded in active cases in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 15.52 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was 17.17 per cent, according to the health ministry.

 The number of people who have recovered from the disease increased to 3,70,71, 898, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.23 per cent, it said.

The cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country so far is over 162.92 crore.

India's Covid-19 tally had crossed 20 lakh on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.

It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19, 2020.

India crossed two crore cases on May 4 and three crore cases on June 23 last year.

The 614 new fatalities include 171 from Kerala, 46 from Tamil Nadu and 45 from Punjab, the data stated.

A total of 4,90,462 deaths have been reported so far in the country, including 1,42,151 from Maharashtra, 51,987 from Kerala, 38,614 from Karnataka, 37,264 from Tamil Nadu, 25,650 from Delhi, 23,073 from Uttar Pradesh and 20,375 from West Bengal.

The health ministry said that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation. 

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