COVID – Short Sighted Concerns Dazzle

COVID is causing children to experience eye problems.

An old wives tale long ridiculed by all children in the 50s turns out to have had a powerful core of truth behind it.

Are you old enough to remember mothers telling kids that sitting too close to the TV on Saturday mornings would ruin their eyes?

Of course, kids sat near the TV because adults were sitting on the couch, and sitting on the floor made it possible to see the entire show.

covidname padrinan pixabay
COVID. Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

We all probably thought it was silly, but a recent global change in how people live has shown that the concerns were real even if totally unsupported by any evidence.

COVID Short-Sighted Adults Cause Short-Sighted Children

It should come as little surprise to learn that when COVID hit, it wasn’t only adults who were often housebound. Whether to keep them safe or, since they usually had more mild cases, to protect the adults in the house from the kids carrying the infection, children who were already spending what many consider far too much screen time now were regularly kept indoors, not even attending classes in person.

That meant kids were spending far less time focusing on the horizon or the blackboard.

While I certainly never gave this any thought and can’t recall seeing any warnings about this, it turned out that myopia (nearsightedness) is increasing at an alarming rate.

COVID Actually Caused Kid’s Eyes to Change Shape!

“A myopia epidemic is sweeping the globe. Here’s how to stop it”

“Time spent outdoors is the best defence against rising rates of short-sightedness, but scientists are searching for other ways to reverse the troubling trend.”

” .. corrective eyewear can usually address the issue – allowing children to, for example, see a blackboard or read from a distance.”

A recent Hong Kong study shows children are experiencing double the pre-COVID rate of myopia due to lengthening of the eyeball.

“Society has a fundamental choice to make,.” .. and the health of children’s eyesight hangs in the balance. – Nature 629, 989-991 (2024) doi:

COVID Defenses The Color of Light

Most people know that UV is damaging to eyesight – that is why so many sunglasses advertise that they block UV frequencies.

But some Chinese research also demonstrates that exposure to red light can help combat myopia, leading to a practice of having some kids stare at a red light for a brief time once a day, think of it as like brushing their teeth only not for their eye-teeth!

Results are inconclusive so far.

” .. the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo [tested UV exposure to 360 and 400 nanometres – tried because of studies in mice] in randomized trials in which children with myopia aged 6-12 years wore specialized eyeglasses equipped with frames that emitted violet light for several hours every day. But even after months to years of wearing the kitted-out spectacles, the treatment had little effect on the growth trajectory of children’s eyeballs.” – Nature

But while mice are successfully used in many studies to substitute for humans, it turns out that mouse eyes are less like human eyes than those of a tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) which filters out critical UV frequencies.

By using mice the clinical trials were essentially useless.

Fighting COVID Side Effects

Medical researchers are now starting to look (so to speak) into this problem.

Although short sightedness may only be a minor inconvenience for most, “severe myopia can lead to more-serious complications, such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma and even permanent blindness.” – Nature 29 May 2024

Whether or not myopia is all that important when so many young people spend so much time texting and even watching their cell phones while standing in expensive concert venues recording their favorite performing artists instead of watching them on stage, we don’t know.

Although it can be challenging to see the stage when standing in a crowd, if they have to hold up cell phones to record the performance it seems a bit strange to me that they are spending so much money to attend the concerts instead of just watching them later on YouTube. (But I am an old guy so there is probably a good reason or so many wouldn’t continue to do it.)

As time passes, more and more consequences of COVID infections are being discovered – too late to help those who caught COVID but something to consider when the next pandemic (bird flu?) hits.

From vaccinations to isolation, to masks, protection which was so widely ridiculed because of conspiracy theories was far more important than many realized.

It turns out that not only does any COVID infection, even mild cases, cause some loss of IQ, it can also cause heart and lung damage, and continued weakness, even lack of energy, not to mention the more obvious death which had so many people begging to be vaccinated just before they were put on ventilators (obviously far too late but anti-science prejudice is hard to overcome).

Getting vaccinated and wearing masks was probably a very good idea, if only because those with COVID were less likely to infect others. Now it turns out that being isolated because COVID was let spread so much, will even cause eyesight problems for the rest of kids’ lives.

In some countries people may appear to have experienced much worse problems caused by taking the vaccines than in others, although that may be because their government was better at tracking and reporting results.

But we now see completely new risks we were running by not taking every possible step to protect ourselves from COVID.

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