Light therapy shone in the eyes of premature infants could prevent vision problems down the line, a new study suggests. Babies are't born with eyesight, but they have a 'molecular pathway' ready to regulate how blood vessels develop in the eye. Myopia, severe nearsightedness, is common in people who were born too early because that pathway is usually underdeveloped in preemies.
Studying mice, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have found a possible prevention treatment. Rates of myopia have rocketed in recent years - doubling in the US and UK since the 1960s. By 2050, more than 50 percent of Americans and Western Europeans are expected to have the condition. Experts have theorized that a driving factor is that kids spend less time outside, with less exposure to natural light. This new study looked at harnessing the capacity of light exposure in a highly specific and novel way.