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Share this article Share 'While big eyes can certainly look beautiful, the fact is that if your eyes are slightly too big, this will cause you to suffer short sight. If the eyeball is too big, the light focused by the lens of the eye does not reach the back the retina, where images are processed. Longer than the average by 2 to 5mm will make you highly short-sighted. And it's the one preventable cause which can be addressed in childhood. The ideal is that they stop growing at the right size and will have perfect vision, but if they grow too big they'll be short-sighted and if they don't grow enough they're long-sighted, and won't be able to see things close up. Some children can have eyes that are too large by the age of five, says Dr Luff. Rebecca believes too much time spent indoors in her younger years could be to blame for her poor eyesight, as neither of her parents are short-sighted. An academic child, she spent her years buried in books before going on to study archaeology and anthropology at Oxford. A review published by the University of Cambridge in found that for each additional hour spent outside each week, the risk of short-sightedness was reduced by 2 per cent. The review of studies involving 10, children and adolescents found that short-sighted children spent on average 3. And another study, led by Dr Kathryn Saunders, reader in vision science at the University of Ulster, found children in Northern Ireland were three times more likely to be short-sighted than Australian children. She suggested this could be due to the protective effect of the sunnier southern climate. Dr Saunders suggests that natural light in the eyeball flicks a type of biological switch that prevents it from growing too large. However, artificial light is not strong enough to flick this switch. Natural not artificial light in the eyeball flicks a biological switch that prevents it from growing too large 'The hypothesis is that exposure to outdoor light increases levels of a natural chemical in the eye called retinal dopamine,' she explains. The risk of torn or detached retina is thought to be higher because the jelly inside the eyeball is more likely to shrink and pull away from the back of the eyeball, damaging the retina. Why a large eye increases the risk of glaucoma and macular degeneration is still unknown. He adds that light only changes the shape of the eyeball in our youth - once we are past our teens the size of the eyeball is fixed. If we can help prevent short-sightedness or the severity of it by advising parents to encourage their children to play outside more and gain exposure to the sun, then it has to be a good thing. But this tends to be largely genetic. He adds that short-sighted people seem to suffer more complications than those who are long-sighted. However, Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, says there could be other factors contributing to why our increasingly indoor lifestyles may be causing bad eyesight. Andy Luff says that the colour of the eye and shape of the eyelid can also influence how large someone's eye looks. In rare cases short-sightedness can also be caused by the curve of the cornea the transparent part of the front of the eyeball being too steep. Rebecca Large just wishes she'd known about the importance of spending time outdoors for preventing short-sightedness when younger. Share or comment on this article: Wonder why you're short sighted? Having beautiful big eyes could be to blame.
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