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Why Do So Many People Need Glasses Now?

Over the past few decades, children around the world have been diagnosed with nearsightedness at increasingly high rates. Nearsightedness, or myopia, can stabilize over time, but it doesn’t get better — meaning that myopes will rely on glasses, contact lenses, or corrective surgery to see for their entire lives.

The blurriness associated with myopia is caused by eyeballs that have grown too long; in a stretched-out shape, eyes aren’t able to properly focus images onto the retina. Researchers believe that two culprits are to blame: the lack of outdoor play, and prolonged time doing up-close activities like using digital devices.

In some countries — like Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea, where over 80 percent of students graduating high school are myopic — intervening the progression of myopia has become a nationwide effort.