The myopia boom

East Asia has been gripped by an unprecedented rise in myopia, also known as short-sightedness. Sixty years ago, 10–20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Today, up to 90% of teenagers and young adults are. In Seoul, a whopping 96.5% of 19-year-old men are short-sighted.

Other parts of the world have also seen a dramatic increase in the condition, which now affects around half of young adults in the United States and Europe — double the prevalence of half a century ago. By some estimates, one-third of the world’s population — 2.5 billion people — could be affected by short-sightedness by the end of this decade. “We are going down the path of having a myopia epidemic,” says Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of the myopia programme at the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia.

This threat has prompted a rise in research to try to understand the causes of the disorder — and scientists are beginning to find answers. They are challenging old ideas that myopia is the domain of the bookish child and are instead coalescing around a new notion: that spending too long indoors is placing children at risk. “We’re really trying to give this message now that children need to spend more time outside,” says Kathryn Rose, head of orthoptics at the University of Technology, Sydney.

A Singapore poster encourages children to spend time outside to prevent myopia.


Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, changed some pictures to show how people who wear glasses sighted, with static and animated images, created a series of incredible images.

It is possible to see how people who have a problem of view see the world without your lenses that are actually useful. Who has myopia or astigmatism will have a easy identify.

By: Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

If you walk the streets of China today, you’ll quickly notice that most young people wear glasses. In Shanghai, for instance, 86 percent of high school students suffer from myopia, or nearsightedness, according to the government’s Xinhua News Agency.

Myopia has risen quickly in much of East Asia and Southeast Asia. And researchers are still trying to pin down exactly what’s driving the epidemic.


Phyllis Logan as Alison Ross (Hannay, 1988) 

"Damn the danger! A few cowards might break up my home, but they’ll not lay a finger on me."

If yesterday was any indication of how happy life can be, then I can’t wait to spend the rest of it with you. I love you so much.

Also, the #Myopia exhibit at MCA is fabulous and I’m going to go back to see it again before it’s gone. #myopiaselfie (at Museum Of Contemporary Art)


Thursday Night!
Mark Mothersbaugh in conversation with Adam Lerner
March 19th / 7 pm
Strand Bookstore, New York City

Even before the inception of DEVO, Mark Mothersbaugh had launched into a life intertwined with the arts. Acclaimed by Wes Anderson as “unified and singular,” the work that Mark produces is now collected in one gorgeous Princeton Architectural Press release, titled Myopia. Join Strand as Mark gives an exciting, personal look at Myopia and a lifetime of creative inventions in drawing, painting, photography and more.

Myopia and Collected Facts & Lies will be available at the event.

In China, rates of myopia have increased from 10–20 percent 60 years ago to as many as 90 percent of young adults today.

 Photo credit: ImagineChina/Corbis

Surprising Reason Why Nearsightedness Has More Than Doubled in 50 years.

In certain parts of the world, children are developing myopia—or near-sightedness—at much higher rates than they have in the past, according to an article published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature.

But several reports published in the last 10 years suggest a related—but very different—reason for the cause. Research at Ohio State University and Australia both found that children who spent less time outside were more likely to develop myopia. Australian researchers then identified the reason why spending more time inside effected eyesight: children’s eyes got less exposure to direct sunlight.

Specifically, looking at sunlight less actually changes the shape of the eyeball to become elongated. As a result of an elongated eyeball, light gets focused front of the retina instead of on the retina. This change in where the eye focuses light causes people to see less clearly and have difficultly seeing objects far way.

“We’re really trying to give this message now that children need to spend more time outside,” Kathryn Rose, head of orthoptics at the University of Technology, Sydney, said in the Nature article.





Photos by Christopher Hall.

Check out the rest of the set over here.

Mark Mothersbaugh is a hero of mine. He’s not only one of the greatest musicians of all time, he’s also my favorite film composer. Mr. Mothersbaugh has just released a book called MYOPIA, which collects a lifetime of his postcards, screenprints, paintings, photographs and Devo ephemera. The book is accompained by a major six-city traveling exhibition with host institutions that include the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center, The Contemporary Austin, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and Grey Gallery and The Drawing Center in New York City. It ends in 2017. Mark sat down with Adam Lerner, the director and chief animator of the Museum of Contempory Art Denver at Strand Book Store in New York City to discuss his career, the exhibition and MYOPIA. Pick up a copy of MYOPIA from Strand over here.

And then listen to my favorite piece of Mark Mothersbaugh score from THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS.

Christopher Hall is listening to Sparkplug Minuet on repeat. He tweets over here. He takes photographs over here. His second book is for sale over here. Buy it, then throw your hands up.

Ilana might sound like an “unlikable” character. She does whatever she wants with little regard to anyone else around her. […] But Ilana is not cruel. She in fact, feels like a female Bill Murray character, a combination I have never encountered before. She’s Venkman in a midriff-bearing T-shirt: a woman who does whatever she wants but with so much affable myopia you end up admiring her. […] Ilana is uniquely unburdened by what people think of her. If that sometimes makes her a jerk, it also makes her a unicorn—a rare being that, once spotted, you don’t take your eyes off.
—  Willa Paskin, Broad City. Comedy Central’s new series features a new kind of girl on TV (src)