Too much time spent indoors may cause “aberrant over-growth of the eye, leading to myopia” according to Associate Prof. Greg Schwartz, Northwestern University. New research has uncovered a specific retinal cell that is highly sensitive to daylight and controls “how the eye grows and develops”. Indoor light has a different spectrum and strength to outdoor light.
““More than a billion people in the world have myopia, whose incidence is rising and is linked to how much time people spend indoors as children,” Dr. Schwartz said.”
If the ON Delayed cell instructs the eye to grow too long, images fail to be focused on the retina, causing nearsighted vision and a lifetime of corrective glasses or contact lenses.
“The eye needs to stop growing at precisely the right time during childhood,” Dr. Schwartz said.
“The indoor light spectrum has high red/green contrast, which activates these clusters of photoreceptors in the human eye, creating the equivalent of an artificial contrast image on the retina,” he said.
“It’s likely the human version of the ON Delayed retinal ganglion cell would be overstimulated by such patterns, causing aberrant over-growth of the eye, leading to myopia.”
This new research underscores parents concerns that a high-rise indoor environment will prevent normal eye development in students, potentially leading to long term eye damage.
1. Mani A, Schwartz GW: Circuit Mechanisms of a Retinal Ganglion Cell with Stimulus-Dependent Response Latency and Activation Beyond Its Dendrites: J Current Biology; Feb 2017.