Short-Sightedness More Likely in Children than 50 Years Ago

March 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. blurry / ˈblɜr i / (adj.) – unclear
Example: The image on the TV is blurry.

2. spike / spaɪk / (n.) – a sudden increase
Example: There was a spike in flu cases last month.

3. presume / prɪˈzum / (v.) – to create an opinion without knowing if it is true or not
Example: He presumed that he had a fever because he was feeling hot.

4. track / træk / (v.) – to watch the movement of something closely
Example: Doctors track the vital signs of their patients.

5. screening / ˈskri nɪŋ / (n.) – the process of checking for a disease or condition by careful examination
Example: Regular vision screening is recommended for people who use the computer a lot.


Read the text below.
A study found that short-sightedness or myopia became twice as frequent in children in the United Kingdom compared to fifty years ago.

Myopia, a condition that makes far objects seem blurry, now affects 16.4 percent of British children between the ages of 12 and 13. This is more than twice the 7.2 percent of those aged 10 to 16 suffering from the condition in the 1960s. In addition, 18.6 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 20 are myopic, compared to 14.4 percent of people aged 12 to 21 who were short-sighted in the 1960s. The results show a trend in the development of children’s eyes in the 21st century.

Although the study reveals that children with parents who have myopia are more likely to be myopic themselves, other studies suggest that genetic factors alone do not explain the spike in myopia cases. Those investigating environmental factors are currently observing the time spent outdoors by afflicted children.  Since eyesight is affected by vitamin D and hormones, researchers presume that less time spent outdoors leads to a greater chance of developing myopia. Those following up on this line of study are tracking the vitamin D and hormone levels of myopic children.

Acting on these studies, experts recommend two courses of action to parents in order to help slow down the rise of myopia among children. One is early intervention through vision screening at an early age.  Another is having children spend an hour outdoors every day.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In what ways can myopia affect a child’s everyday life?
·         What are other health conditions that affect children in your country?

Discussion B

·         What do children in your country usually do indoors?
·         What are some things parents can do to get children to spend more time outdoors?

March 12, 2016