News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Lack of Sun Exposure Linked with Short-Sightedness

Lack of Sun Exposure Linked with Short-Sightedness

A study of 1,400 young adults in Western Australia has shown that lack of exposure to sunlight is associated with short-sightedness (myopia). Researchers used a new camera system – developed in Sydney – to take ultraviolet photographs to assess sun damage to the surface of the eye. The photographs indicated that more exposure to sunlight meant more sun damage to the surface of the eye. However, it was these people who were less likely to be short-sighted.

"What we found was that people without very much sun exposure had the highest rates of myopia, and people with lots of sun exposure had the lowest rates of myopia. People with the least sun exposure had double the chance of myopia than people with the most sun exposure," said Dr Charlotte McKnight, Clinical Lecturer with the Lions Eyes Institute at the University of Western Australia. "These ultraviolet photographs provide an objective, more accurate method of assessing a person's exposure to sunlight, than questionnaires used in previous studies."

"Myopia affects over a billion people worldwide, and is becoming increasingly more frequent. In some areas of South-East Asia as many as 80% of people have myopia. The cost of treating myopia (with glasses, contact lenses or laser) is high, and doesn't fix the underlying structural problem with the eye. Severe myopia can result in retinal detachment and blindness," said Dr McKnight.

"Although there are many theories, we don't really understand the complex genetic and environmental factors that cause a person to become myopic, or understand why there has been such an increase in rates of myopia around the world. We also don't have any reliable way to prevent myopia, or reduce the progression to severe myopia."

Dr McKnight will present the research findings during the Annual Scientific Congress of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists – being held in Melbourne this week from 24-28 November.

"The design of the study is not able to prove that low levels of outdoor activity cause myopia; it could equally be true that having myopia makes you less likely to spend time outdoors. Excessive amounts of outdoor activity and sun exposure does have risks (such as skin cancer and eye diseases including pterygium), so we do not want to recommend increasing outdoor time unless we are sure that the benefits outweigh the risks."

"The message is that there's a balance of sun exposure that's beneficial for eye health. Moderation is the key," said Dr McKnight. "To work out if increasing outdoor activity can prevent myopia, interventional studies need to be done. Some of these studies are currently underway around the world."

Other research presented at RANZCO's Congress:

Current approaches to save children's eyes with retinoblastoma (eye cancer), may be failing the whole child

Prof Gallie a Canadian ophthalmologist who focuses her work on Retinoblastoma (RB) (a rare, cancerous tumor of the retina which generally affects children under the age of six) will present to eye specialists the ethical issues and importance of treating the whole child – not just the eye.

When retinoblastoma first shows, cure by removal of the eye is widely available and affordable with cure rate >98%. Despite huge resources, new, widely advocated approaches to save eyes with retinoblastoma, may instead be failing the whole child. Systemic chemotherapy to make subsequent surgery safer may result in the opposite.

The Internet brings to parents facing retinoblastoma everywhere the concept that their duty is to save the eye, blinding them to the potential of the whole child, even without seeing eyes.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Monarchy: Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Are Expecting Second Child

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child. More>>

ALSO:

2015: Elton John Plans Wellington Show

After nine years, Elton John and his band will return to Westpac Stadium, Wellington for one spectacular concert! The November 21, 2015 concert will feature iconic hits and classic album tracks from throughout his incredible five-decade career... More>>

Book Awards: Jill Trevelyan's Story Of Peter McLeavey Is Book Of The Year

The story of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey and his gallery has won the prestigious New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2014 in a glittering ceremony in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: King Richard

Simon Nathan reviews 'Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own': My father grew up in Wellington during Seddon’s premiership... I can recall him standing under the Seddon statue in the grounds of parliament and telling me that Seddon had more backbone than Sid Holland and all his cabinet colleagues put together.. More>>

8 October: Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour Coming To Auckland!

Dainty Group announced today that global superstar Miley Cyrus will bring her BANGERZ TOUR to New Zealand in October this year. This will be Miley’s first ever visit to New Zealand and there will only be one Auckland show before she takes her tour to Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news