You might have noticed that more people seem to wear glasses every year. Some of this uptick in spectacles comes from hipsters looking for an accessory. The vast majority of eyewear users, however, require their lenses to see. The reasons for the increase in glasses, while likely complicated, can be explained by our world. Paradigms have shifted, life has changed, and thus the kinds of problems we frequently encounter have shifted and changed as well.
The Old Way
In the past, our lives were in some ways very simple, but overall quite difficult. For example, the way we made money. Most work in the past required physical labor of some kind. Many jobs were outdoors. Whether a factory worker, a farmer, or builder (all careers some still occupy), the vast majority of people put their bodies to hard labor. Those working indoors and without physical labor of some kind were few and far between.
As a result of these conditions, a lot of bodily health issues followed. From injuries related to the perils of the jobs (ex: broken bones), to injuries following from years of hard labor (ex: chronic joint pain), most workers, to make a living, had to put their bodies on the line.
The New Way
Even up until 1960 at least 50% of the workforce worked physically demanding jobs. Fast forward to today, only 20% of Americans work jobs requiring physical labor. The other 80% of workers are indoors, usually seated, typically using a computer and phone for their primary work responsibilities. These new conditions, while more complex in some ways (technologically at least), does not alleviate all medical difficulties from employment.
While bodily health issues still arise today, they don’t come from physical labor. The types of issues people deal with today focus on the type of work they’re doing. For example, sitting in an office chair all day can lead to back issues, working while listening to headphones can lead to hearing problems, and spending lots of times indoors can lead to nearsightedness. Bet you thought we forgot what this post was about, huh? Nope! We’ve just taken some time to establish that the increase in nearsightedness (myopia) is hardly different than the decrease in workplace injuries like broken bones: it comes with the type of work being done.
It should be asked, why does being indoors lead to myopia? The answer is, it’s complicated. Two definite known reasons related to the question exist, however.
- Artificial Light: It’s been proven that the more natural light your body can consume in a regular cycle, the healthier you will be. Whereas, with artificial light, the opposite case tends to be true. Artificial light inside of the home is like having miniature suns available to you all the time in your house. This constant, artificial exposure takes its toll just as staring regularly at the sun would.
- Electronic Screens: The other clear problem stems from the fact that we don’t sit inside doing nothing. Most of us spend our time on screens, especially for work. These screens basically harm our eyes on the same principle as the artificial light mentioned above. The difference is that they’re concentrated, and we spend our time staring directly into the light for hours on end. That myopia has increased, in the face of this, is unsurprising.
Creating healthy habits surrounding technology and spending time out of doors is a good first step to preventing nearsightedness. Find out more today about the dangerous blue light in artificial light sources and how to combat it.