Myopia in youth can lead to vision loss – Israeli scientists
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A number of studies have been conducted on why a growing number of ultra-Orthodox boys and adolescents are myopic and almost all of them have to wear corrective glasses from an early age.
A new study by the Department of Optometry at Hadassah College in Jerusalem has shown that lack of daylight after long hours of study causes myopia.
The results have been published in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports.
The study takes advantage of the unique situation in Israel where Jewish boys study in three different systems: haredi, state ethno-religious and state secular schools, each with different educational requirements.
A total of 57 Haredi, 67 national-religious and 44 secular boys aged 6 to 10 were recruited and underwent a comprehensive eye examination. They wore special watches that objectively measured daylight exposure and physical activity. help analyze family history, in particular with regard to reading and writing, and screen use.
Haredi boys' education includes intense, constant work-related activities and long school days from the age of three. On the other hand, both boys and girls in the religious and secular systems, as well as Haredi girls, begin formal education at the age of six.
According to Gordon Schaag, who heads the department of optometric sciences at the college, “This is an important, targeted study, and if we understand what causes myopia in many Haredi populations, we can take steps to prevent it, for example by encouraging children to go outside during time for change at school”.
“During my research, I heard many Haredim say, “So what if a child has myopia; he only needs glasses. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a direct link between myopia and vision loss in old age. myopia are also at increased risk of glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment. The more a child has myopia at an early age, the more likely they are to develop these diseases in older age, says the author of the study.
By 2050, half of the world's population will be myopic.
The hypothesis of the new study was that haredi boys would be less exposed to daylight and be forced to spend more time looking at nearby objects (such as reading and writing).
The prevalence of myopia varied by group (among the Haredi sector — 46%, national-religious — 25% and secular — 20%). /> When comparing children with myopia and children without myopia, it was found that more hours at school and in a cramped workplace increases the chances of myopia. The curriculum of the Haredi school consists mainly of religious studies. It is possible, according to the current study, that the long school day , which includes a lot of reading, contributes to myopia.
The research team has proposed a number of interventions to prevent to prevent the onset and progression of the disease in Haredim, which could reduce the number of school hours.
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