The Nearsightedness Epidemic

  • Added:  1 year ago
  • While not the kind of epidemic you're used to hearing about, nearsightedness is becoming a major health issue in many places. Learn about how scientists are finding out the reasons behind the increase in myopia, and how sunlight might be an important component.

    Hosted by: Michael Aranda
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    Sources: (pp 18-20)
  • Video CategoriesEducation
  • Runtime: 8:59
  • Tags for this video:  SciShow  science  Hank  Green  Michael Aranda  Myopia  Blindness  Epidemic  Sunlight  Sports  Preventive Medicine  Eyeball  Optics  Education  What causes nearsightedness?  nearsightedness  The Nearsightedness Epidemic  Near-Work  High Myopia  East Asia  First-born  

Comments: 2 477

  • purplepsycogalaxy 123
    purplepsycogalaxy 123 1 day ago +1

    I'm nearsighted, I wear glasses and I'm as dumb as a bucket of rocks. Not all nearsighted glasses wearers are smart. 😥

  • Zuzo's corner
    Zuzo's corner 4 days ago

    I was born with several eye problems for my whole life. it not education i'll tel you that much

  • Christopher Hart
    Christopher Hart 5 days ago

    gonna call BS on this, my family grew up on a farm way out in the middle of nowhere, spent multiple hours of time outside nearly everyday growing up & yet every person in my family is nearsighted & were wearing glasses by high school age, a couple of us with really bad eyesight, like > -8.5 in each eye.

  • Meloni Lewis
    Meloni Lewis 6 days ago

    ok this makes me wonder about how they're saying that the light given off by tv, computers, our phones is in the same spectrum as natural sunlight so not to look at screens or watch tv before bed especially in bed or it disrupts our sleep wake cycles and they've even made programs to change the screens so they're more like sunset colored. So if it is true that the screens are mimicking natural sunlight and even tricking our brains, maybe we're getting too much sunlight? or maybe since it's from an artificial source it's not helping but hurting our eyes(if true outside sunlight is what helps them) so maybe screens are not just messing up our sleep cycles but also possibly causing nearsightedness too(I wonder if the study that looked at the poor kids comparing them to more educated kids could account for the more well off kids having more access to tv or computers? Maybe it's kinda like looking directly at the sun isn't' good for your eyes (so maybe at a certain developmental age) if you're looking at a screen/artificial sunlight more than a human should be at that time it would be like staring directly at the sun for too long and even at the wrong time of day like if kids are allowed to watch tv before bed or even IN bed at night when there's no sunlight so humans during history wouldn't even have had access to that kind of light?

    maybe it has to do with the timing of when you're exposed to sunlight while developing, kinda like the allergies to "peanuts"(or possibly a type of mold on most peanuts instead of the peanut itself), they're now saying that if a baby is given peanuts in small amounts at a certain age then they're probably not going to get a peanut allergy but since people have been advised to avoid feeding peanuts to babies the prevalence of peanut allergy has risen recently. So I guess this whole making sure you get sunlight at the correct time of day at a certain developmental age in order for your genes to turn on correctly to help your eyes grow best would make sense. I heard that if you were to leave an infant in a dark room for the first few years of life it would be forever blind because it wouldn't' be able to develop those connections in it's brain. Maybe when kids start to be able to read is about the same time as when the eyes need to be outside/exposed to the correct amount of sunlight( and not at night from screens) in order to develop correctly, I wonder if reading outside would be beneficial or if kids would need to do other things, look at things far away? (I know some commenters are saying it's not looking at things far away that helps and that the video talked about that, which i'll have to watch it again because i must've missed that part?) There's no way that you can look at things that are miles away if you're indoors like you can outside. If you think about hunter gatherers it would make sense they HAD to look far away distances in order to survive so one would think that maybe at a certain developmental age that practice or just even having the chance to look at things so far away would help your eyes develop correctly....hmmm

  • Dekkren Kain
    Dekkren Kain 10 days ago

    Go blind... Or venture out into the sun? Welp... better get my dog a guide harness...

  • alonso geesink-anton
    alonso geesink-anton 13 days ago

    what about farsightedness

  • Javaman92
    Javaman92 18 days ago

    So... going outside with dark sunglasses on?

  • Michael De Rita
    Michael De Rita 19 days ago

    This makes a lot of sense, it's almost self-explanatory. Amazing.

  • RisaY D
    RisaY D 20 days ago

    Both of my parents are farsighted but I'm nearsighted so this video helped my confusion

  • T1Oracle
    T1Oracle 23 days ago

    I think what's going on, is that when you are outside your eyes have a much more complex environment with much better lighting. Not only are you surrounded by more visual complexity, you actually have enough ambient light to see it all. As a result, when you are outside your eyes get more exercise.

    I remember when I was young I used to intentionally exercise my eyes by focusing on close and far objects. When I later joined the Army the doctor said I had a 20/13 vision (better than 20/20), I also aced all of the visual parts of the ASVAB

  • Thonmoy Rahman
    Thonmoy Rahman 26 days ago +1

    You know what else releases dopamine in the brain? Heroin and sex. I've never had either.

  • Thonmoy Rahman
    Thonmoy Rahman 26 days ago +1

    I can't that do I England live in.

  • Mind over Mindfuck
    Mind over Mindfuck 26 days ago

    My parents both have myopia, and so do me and my three sisters. I'm a homebody and stay indoors, so that contributes, BUT my friend, who behaves the same way as me (who doesn't even open her curtains during the day) has perfect eyesight, same as her parents. Genetics must be a deciding factor in some way...

  • Unboxing Williams
    Unboxing Williams 26 days ago

    I'm nearsighted -6.03

  • Omega Henry
    Omega Henry 27 days ago

    It's those small Asian eyes.

  • Janik Bollh von horst
    Janik Bollh von horst 27 days ago

    If I squeeze my eyeball will it fix my myopia?

  • haseothepkker
    haseothepkker 27 days ago

    I wonder if this could correlate to the rates at which gingers or other fair skinned people might end up requiring glasses. When I take a moment to consider the possibility, I'm shocked to find that all the gingers I know myself included, avoid the sun like the plague and subsequently have some manner of correctional lenses.

  • Nadia Melocotonta
    Nadia Melocotonta 28 days ago

    I loved this video (: thanks

  • Awkward Inc.
    Awkward Inc. 28 days ago

    Two things. 1.that guy has some DAMN good looks if I must say so myself. 2. But could also sunlight help CURE Myopia?

  • ElectricHelloKitty
    ElectricHelloKitty 1 month ago

    It doesn't sound strange to millenials because we're so used to hearing about the obesity epidemic

  • Chibbles
    Chibbles 1 month ago

    Parent: Go outside
    Child: No
    Parent: Have fun being near sighted hoe

  • Alma Verde
    Alma Verde 1 month ago


  • Alma Verde
    Alma Verde 1 month ago

    your voice is incredible. so manly and clear

  • Alma Verde
    Alma Verde 1 month ago

    i like you

  • iPrometheusQ
    iPrometheusQ 1 month ago

    Cool subject! But why does it have to be the sunlight? As the end of sight (horizon) is further away when you are outside, aussie kids practice to look at far distant objects more frequently

  • Michal Gaik
    Michal Gaik 1 month ago +1

    if i start going outside more as a 19 year old can i improve my vision?

  • john rosenskjold
    john rosenskjold 1 month ago

    with all these data and research in groups and geographical and education as well as financial it could be interesting to look at how prominent opticians and sales of glass and contacts are to see it there is a correlation.

  • TiredAndGrumpy
    TiredAndGrumpy 1 month ago

    makes sense I was and still am a night reader, hardly go out and my eyes are horribly nearsighted. I like the indoors though, so I'm not going to change any time soon.

  • Ohidur Chad
    Ohidur Chad 1 month ago

    Absolutely great work

  • Stuffy Pancake
    Stuffy Pancake 1 month ago

    did they even remember that the sun in China is blocked out by polution

  • Danna Valenzuela
    Danna Valenzuela 1 month ago

    When he said that the 1st child is most likely to be nearsighted well it's really true because I'm the oldest child and I'm nearsighted and my younger sister is farsighted.

  • Alex108
    Alex108 1 month ago

    The beeping in the background was really distracting...

  • Joe Al
    Joe Al 1 month ago

    I like bang bang

  • Hannah Davidson-Locke
    Hannah Davidson-Locke 1 month ago

    My Mum is near sighted, and I am too.

  • Ilakkiya Venkat
    Ilakkiya Venkat 1 month ago

    I'm really glad for this video. I've never wanted to wear glasses in my life, because my older brother by 2 years has glasses. But when far images started becoming blurry, it seems that I had some slight myopia. I was devastated, and I had to I get glasses. I still don't use the glasses outside of my home, it hasn't become that server yet, but I'm going to start going outside more, not just my usual walk back home from school. THANK YOU SO MUCH

  • David Maurand
    David Maurand 1 month ago

    Sunlight is free, yeah. But where there's money to be made, big pharma (and their congressional stooges) will see to it our kids get dopamine injections instead.

  • James August
    James August 1 month ago

    God I love good science. I was worried I would have to point out that correlation doesn't prove cause, in regards to the myopia - education correlation. Thank you SciShow for not saying "THIS IS THE PROBLEM" But rather saying "We don't know yet."

  • Derek Gunn
    Derek Gunn 1 month ago

    Not Study.
    Not Sunlight.

  • Kevin Picton
    Kevin Picton 2 months ago

    its not just light, its also air.... I spent a lot of times in doors and when I go out the air feels cold on my eyes and my eyes start watering because of the air. the air influences your eyes. the air indoors is usually more body temperature, more neutral or warm and lacking of as much moisture. also indoors everything is up close and you don't need to focus far.... outside you have longer scope of vision and theres no wall stopping your range and focus range.

  • Nikolina Mažar
    Nikolina Mažar 2 months ago

    It obviously doesn't work for everyone. I come from a family where everyone has literally perfect eye vision, so it's not genetic, and I assume I was the unlucky black sheep because my eyesight is horrible. I'm 24 now so during my childhood years we didn't really have all of this technology, the internet and computers weren't this popular yet so we played a lot outside, and I mean really A LOT, most of my childhood was spent outside. So no, the sun didn't help me... unfortunately.

  • Eian Guevarra
    Eian Guevarra 2 months ago

    Couldn't a cause be the grandparents' were inside more and their children picked up on that habit, and then their children had even more

  • Wakish
    Wakish 2 months ago

    I believe it's based off of gene expression, which is dependent on factors from being outside like absorbing the sun's rays and having to focus your vision on objects further away. Vitamin D isn't the only beneficial component to sunlight but I'm not 100% sure which other variable is causing it

  • Caelin's World
    Caelin's World 2 months ago

    my mom won't get me glasses but the doctor said i should get some

  • typicallyUntypical
    typicallyUntypical 2 months ago

    Does that mean all vampires are actually nearsighted? Or going to develop myopia?

  • Bruno Cerri
    Bruno Cerri 2 months ago

    My dad is long sighted
    I think

    • Bruno Cerri
      Bruno Cerri 2 months ago


  • Khekbre C
    Khekbre C 2 months ago

    So if u have a kid u have to let him or her go out ? As much as possible

  • Kaylee Teagan
    Kaylee Teagan 2 months ago

    could bright indoor lighting and bright monitors help then as well?

  • Eda-Jane Ahmaogak
    Eda-Jane Ahmaogak 2 months ago

    I am Inuit :D but my family are also nearsighted.

  • Katherine Pierce
    Katherine Pierce 2 months ago +1

    Why didn't you put this video up 2 years ago??? 😢😢😢

  • Katherine Pierce
    Katherine Pierce 2 months ago +1


  • Michael Hayman
    Michael Hayman 2 months ago

    or i could use extra bright led bulbs?

  • FennecFoxee
    FennecFoxee 2 months ago

    I was actually pretty active as a kid, but I still ended up nearsighted. >.< Wish this had worked for me. XD

  • Cynthia Clampitt
    Cynthia Clampitt 2 months ago

    I read a study that suggested that it wasn't just being outside -- it was the fact that, outside, we are generally changing focal distance regularly. The study was based on the low incidence of nearsightedness among hunter-gatherer groups, because they constantly were looking in different directions and at different distances. So the issue is that, inside, we rarely change the direction or distance on which we are focused. It's why eye exercises sometimes help. Did you run into anything along these lines when preparing this story? Because eyes can get "flabby" just like bodies that don't move, the report proposed, and keeping them moving and refocusing makes a difference. I'd be interested in knowing if that was part of the idea of being outside having value for vision.

  • RimorDeIgnotis
    RimorDeIgnotis 2 months ago

    I generally spend around 15 minutes outside every week... That's probably not very good eh?

  • Well, I'm Garbage
    Well, I'm Garbage 2 months ago

    so can you fix far-sightedness by being a shutin?
    /music plays

  • Kkas10
    Kkas10 2 months ago

    So.... exposure to light affects the development and effectiveness of the organ used to detect... light. Makes sense.

  • James Bond
    James Bond 2 months ago

    epidemics are located in a single area like the United States, but pandemic is when it is worldwide. I would say this is a pandemic to be technical.

  • R Hayat
    R Hayat 2 months ago

    His voice is EXACTLY the same as that lanky other guy. How can they have the SAME voice? What's going on here?

  • DerpyDitto7
    DerpyDitto7 2 months ago

    Im far-sighted

  • Siddu Chinnakatti
    Siddu Chinnakatti 2 months ago

    I got near eye sightedness due to lot of near work like reading books , watching TV ..Always in home..not much activity outside the house.. i am 100 % sure that it's because of these reasons..

  • saikyoRYU
    saikyoRYU 2 months ago

    So still no cure for my astigmatism.

  • Him Girish
    Him Girish 2 months ago +3

    Can i watch a wallpaper of sun instead of going out ?

  • Michie TN
    Michie TN 2 months ago

    This episode calls for a sequel. Maybe start by interpreting into layman's language, then this one: introducing the idea that the neurotransmitter implicated, Dopamine, is also related to mood. Then segue to Seasonal Affective Disorder Gives new meaning to looking good, on the sunny side of life.

  • Michelle Speed
    Michelle Speed 2 months ago

    Interestingly, if you have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobile Type, a genetic condition that affects collagen and results in unstable joints, you are highly likely to have myopia. I have both.

  • x3P1CxSH00T3R
    x3P1CxSH00T3R 2 months ago

    I'm the first born in my Family and I'm Farsighted, but I expect my Sister to be near sighted. Both my parents are Nearsighted.

  • Clara Bow
    Clara Bow 2 months ago

    great video. I've always been a proponent for getting kids outside and letting them have more time outside at school (as a teacher I was extremely frustrated at how little the kids got to be out for "recess"). both of my younger siblings (I'm the first) have glasses, I have 20/20 vision. I'm also more educated than either of them. I've always said looking at games boys and things too close are a problem (I rarely read too close and always look far away when I can) and they still may be, but the light/sunshine goes along with not playing on phones and game boys or whatever right next to your face & being inside so makes sense. the boy next door is rarely outside and he had glasses now, coincidence? maybe... he always plays games on whatever inside too so... :)

  • Katherine Richardson
    Katherine Richardson 2 months ago

    well school is how you find out you're nearsighted. my mom and grandma are and at 26 my eyes have finally stopped getting worse but they're pretty bad

  • Marc Lowenthal
    Marc Lowenthal 2 months ago

    Well, time to get outside some more......

  • Ben Moyer
    Ben Moyer 2 months ago

    fuck me. I go outside all the time and always have but have some of the worst vision ever and need a new prescription every time I go to the eye doctor

  • Kari Grard
    Kari Grard 2 months ago +1

    Solution do schoolwork outside! I always stuided alot and always went outside. my eyes are fine lol.

  • Katrina Yarbro
    Katrina Yarbro 2 months ago

    Jokes on you. I am farsightedness!

    *laughs far away*

  • Daniella Sullivan
    Daniella Sullivan 2 months ago +1

    They put goggles on chicks? Pics or it didn't happen! ;)

  • grn dragon
    grn dragon 2 months ago

    Would like to see how this affects adults. 8 to 15 hours a day has to have a negative affect on ones eyes over time.

  • Frxnz. edts
    Frxnz. edts 2 months ago

    well my parents are nearsighted soo.. :/

  • Richard Jones
    Richard Jones 2 months ago

    Sunlight is good for you.....who knew?

  • Dolores Jagodic
    Dolores Jagodic 2 months ago

    me and my twin are firstborns and have the best grades we have perfect eyesight..but everyone else in our family has/needs glasses(3 more siblings,mom and dad)

  • Kyle Richard
    Kyle Richard 2 months ago

    So how does this interact with sunglasses?

  • John Dole
    John Dole 2 months ago

    It's gotta be the damn technology. Staring at these screens and the fact that this has caused kids not to go outside anymore and get that sunlight. These two factors are the causes. It's the only thing that has changed that could have possibly caused such a dramatic rise in nearsightedness. Why won't they just come out and say it? And then they try to blame it on education? Wtf? Lmao, gimme a break.

  • sputnut
    sputnut 3 months ago

    Maybe, and this is just a hypothesis, it has to do with actually USING your distance vision, which happens much more often outside.

  • Spoony
    Spoony 3 months ago

    Well mine is definitely genetic, I spent hours a day outside as a kid and I can't see a 60 inch tv 8 feet away.

  • Jon Groubert
    Jon Groubert 3 months ago

    It's not sunlight that's curing myopia. It's seeing things at a distance.

    Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, studious types, aka, people who read a lot, would develop myopia. To fix it, they would take the cure. What was that? Going out to sea.

    When you're out at sea, you're focusing on things very far away. It is the exercise of your eye muscles that cures the myopia.

    You can cure yourself the same way - or more to the point, if you have myopia, you can stop its progress. How? 10 minutes out of every hour, stop close work. Look up, look away, look across the room, look outside. This exercises your eye muscles and stops your myopia from progressing any further.

  • Round Pi
    Round Pi 3 months ago

    Time to apply sunblock on my eyes and scare at the sun!

  • Aaron Fang Shenhao
    Aaron Fang Shenhao 3 months ago

    So will putting the brightness up on screens help? I've always put the brightness down when working because I thought it was bad.

  • TheEightshot
    TheEightshot 3 months ago

    So, a new insult for stupid people. "God, (s)he is so long sighted." :)

  • coolstay85
    coolstay85 3 months ago

    I don't think sunlight directly impact the children's eye development. however staying outdoor encourage people to see far. you go outside you pretty much see things far all the time like sky, buildings, mountains or ocean, which plays an important role on children's eye development. you don't use it, you lose it just like other part of body like bones, muscles and brain.

  • Eeriel Constantine
    Eeriel Constantine 3 months ago

    So...sunlight. So we can look farther but cook our eyeballs faster. You can't win. *rolls nearsighted eyes*

  • Monica Miraflor
    Monica Miraflor 3 months ago

    Now what about astigmatism?

  • Spaldam's Adventures
    Spaldam's Adventures 3 months ago

    What if it's just that people who go outside learn to look father distances.

    I like to go outside, and I was able to see far away when I was younger.

  • Elina Buchan
    Elina Buchan 3 months ago

    my optometrist said studying a lot can make my myopia worse. kinda sucks. good grades, but at the cost of my vision ;;;;;

  • Jari Haukilahti
    Jari Haukilahti 3 months ago

    less E-vitamin and not shaking your eyeballs to a round shape + doing math makes you nearsighted

  • anna the pretzel
    anna the pretzel 3 months ago

    I have astigmatism and I lost my glasses at my old school so I'm fucked. My double vision has gotten so bad, bUT I CANT GET NEW GLASSES YET CUZ MY MOoM TOLD ME I HAVE TO FIND MY OLD ONES OR ELSE, SORRY FOR VENTING ITS LIKE 2 amN. I LITERALLY GOT MY GLASSES IN AUGUST OF 2016 AND LOST THEM IN LESS THAB A FUCKING YEARRRDrtr

  • C Sanyk
    C Sanyk 3 months ago

    Theory: I would assume that people who spend more time outdoors spend more time looking at distant objects, which provides "exercise" to the eye to focus on distant objects. The more you do this, the better your eye gets.

  • Mystic Dust
    Mystic Dust 3 months ago

    I have two glasses. One has a weaker prescription and I wear this most of the time. The other has a stronger prescription, and I use it to look at something from further away. It's annoying to switch back and forth, but at least I am actively doing accommodation by switching glasses.

  • Grimmm 258
    Grimmm 258 3 months ago

    but can my shit vision be reversed by going outside?

  • Moon Moon
    Moon Moon 3 months ago

    I have an astigmatism. Are there any environmental causes for this or is it just the shape of my eyes?

  • Phil Hub
    Phil Hub 3 months ago

    if the kids who spend more time outside have better long distance vision than their indoor counterparts, could it be practicing long distance looking?

  • RadicalOne 1912
    RadicalOne 1912 3 months ago

    This does make a lot of sense. When I was younger I was outside all the time, but when I started spending more time inside, that's when my vision started getting worse. Along with that, my friend, who is two years older than me can still see fine, but he also works for his grandpa's construction company (so he's outside a lot).

  • Storm Silvawalker
    Storm Silvawalker 3 months ago

    maybe we will get less homework so we can go outside more?

    ha nope just brighter lights in schools

  • DuncanDestruction
    DuncanDestruction 3 months ago

    What if it's something to do with the diet, such as a lack of enough Vitamin D, or high blood sugar? That would be an environmental factor that could explain how genetics only play a small role.

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