Half of world population will be short-sighted

Researchers predicted in a new report that by 2050, half of the world's population will be short-sighted. The medical name for this condition is myopia. It is also known as near-sightedness. It is when it becomes difficult to see things that are far away from us. Around 4.8 billion people will have myopia in 2050 – seven times more than in the year 2000. Sixty years ago, around 15 per cent of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Now, almost 90 per cent of young Chinese have trouble seeing faraway objects. Up to 95 per cent of teenagers in South Korea are near-sighted.

The researchers did not give definite reasons for this. They said it was a combination of factors. They said looking at computer screens and mobile phones could be a big cause. The sudden rise in myopia may be linked to "lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors". A science journalist said, "spending time outdoors, especially in early childhood, reduces the onset of myopia". A co-author of the report, gave some advice: "You could spend a long time [on] computers and screens, but also spend two hours outdoors."