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Why are more children becoming nearsighted?

The National Eye Institute is sponsoring a study to determine the effect of red and blue light on children's vision.

The University of Houston College of Optometry has a lab set up and children aged 7 to 14 who are accompanied by a guardian sleep over and are exposed to red and blue lights at different times. Researchers hope to determine why an increasing number of children need glasses to correct nearsightedness (myopia) and whether a certain type of light will either prevent or possibly slow the development of myopia. The prevalence of nearsightedness in children is alarming and genetics cannot account for the dramatic increase so researchers are looking to environmental factors being behind the increase. Current evidence suggests that children who spend more time outside are much less likely to become nearsighted. The hypothesis is that the network of blood vessels behind the retina known as the choroid become thickened by red light and that thickening helps to prevent myopia but this supposition has not been tested in children. Researchers are examining the choroid in the children in the study to evaluate how circadian rhythm, light exposure and defocus from lenses that blur images affect the thickness of the choroid. The study participants are able to utilize wearable technology that records specific readings down to the minute of how much light exposure a child receives. It is hoped that the study findings will result in new treatments for myopia.

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