By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the last 30 years, the number of us who are nearsighted has doubled. So, why do so many of us need glasses? The answer may have something to do with what we’re seeing so much of.

According to one study, in the 1970s, 25 percent of Americans were nearsighted. Now, 42 percent are. The Vision Council of America also says that 75 percent of adults use some sort of vision correction.

Dr. Marcie Nichols from Perspectives Vision Clinic of Minneapolis says, in this case, perception is reality.

“It’s partly genetics and it’s partly visual stress. The way we use our eyes over the past 30 years has increased dramatically,” Nichols said.

For example, many are now looking at phones, computers and playing video games for hours.

Some studies suggest the sun may be another factor to focus on. Eyes originated when we spent most of our days outside now we’re living indoors in artificial light. Bright outside light helps developing eyes keep the right distance between the lens and retina, which helps us focus. However, dim lighting doesn’t do the same thing.

“It’s not necessarily the sunlight perhaps, but it’s more they are spending more time outside instead of reading,”Nichols said.

Nichols believes the biggest reason we are seeing clearly comes down to options.

“There is definite increased awareness and need for vision correction and there’s greater access to care, obviously,” she said.

There’s an exercise Doctor Nichols suggests called the “20/20 rule” to help your vision. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at something, look away for 20 seconds and try to focus on something far away.

On a related note, doctors say carrots do help your vision. They contain Vitamin A which is absorbed by your retinal cells.

Liz Collin

Comments (11)
  1. boring bob says:

    Guess it must be a really slow news day.

  2. Citizen of Minnesota says:

    Just a point of clarification for this statement: “The way we use our eyes over the past 30 years has increased dramatically.” Makes no sense. It should say, “The way we use our eyes over the past 30 years has CHANGED dramatically.” Eyes are always used “a lot.” Maybe the speaker actually said this, but I’m sure meant CHANGED.

  3. BB says:

    Surprised there is no mention age-related presbyopia and why it happens? Many if not most of my late 40s and early 50-something friends and fam are looking for fashionable cheaters. I keep readers in every room, desk, car, nook and cranny and have even sought out clear bifocal readers online and bifocal sunglasses, a must. Not going to succumb to the lanyard/chain yet tho but I’m close. I have a new appreciation for the annoyance glasses are for folks who’ve had to wear them all their lives.

  4. hmm says:

    Technology has allowed us to go against the theory of survival of the fittest. Thousands of years ago people who can’t see would probably not live too long.

  5. Courteney says:

    I agree with hmm. People are constantly wanting to figure out why there is an increase in……bad sight, diseases, food allergies, allergies, etc, and the BIGGEST reason is that we have completely disrupted natures way of weeding these things out. People who couldn’t see or had life threatening diseases or food allergies didn’t live long and most of the time didn’t live long enough to have kids and pass anything on. That is natures way of getting rid of disease and other unwanted things. Modern science/medicine has taken all of that away and we have no “survival of the fittest” to keep the human race strong. We are actually weakening the human race by doing this.

    I’m not saying I have any solutions for this, just that this is a major cause for our problems.

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