Font de Mora, right about small screens causing myopia in children?

Nearsightedness is increasing, and there aren’t many other reasonable explanations.

I had the great good fortune a few weeks ago to attend what I thought was a pimps and thieves party, but which turned out to be a do hosted by the Valencian regional executive. Alejandro Font de Mora doesn’t strike me as any less stupid or venial than the average Spanish politician, but, despite the demagogic hue-and-cry from Mr Escolar et al, there’s a decent chance that, whether he knows it or not, he’s talking good sense in accusing Zapatero and Gabilondo of promoting eye defects with their micro-laptops. Check out for example this Wired piece on the rise in shortsightedness:

The cause of nearsightedness is poorly understood. Past research has linked added risk to both a genetic predisposition to nearsightedness and to excessive amounts of near work, the kind of tasks that require peering at written words or small objects.

“Some people would say near work is a reasonable explanation,” Vitale says, particularly with the advent of video games and other electronic devices. Children also spend less time outdoors than they once did, she says. And some researchers contend that more outdoor time means seeing in better light, focusing farther.

As for hereditary factors, research shows some added risk for children born to nearsighted parents. “It might be that somehow the population has changed and that there are more people floating around that have more genetic risk,” Vitale says.

Whether the opportunity cost is justifiable is another question. In view of the miserable delivery record of Spanish state IT-in-education projects, you could also suggest that whether it’s a big question is yet another question. But it’s bedtime.

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