Half of Americans Have Poor Eyesight


Had some eyedrops today that made the computer screen and everything else up close really hard to see for a few hours, which gave me time to think about people whose eyesight is not the perfect 20/20. It turns out, there are plenty of those -- half of the American population over 19: "More than 33 percent were nearsighted and 36 percent had astigmatism, which causes fuzzy vision, the [research] team reported. Another 3.6 percent were farsighted, meaning they can see at a distance but not up close." (- Reuters, and here's the actual study)

Which means those who are in this half and are not wearing lenses or glasses have trouble reading whatever it is we are writing.


  1. Very true but how is that problem supposed to be solved?

  2. The question is if those with poor eyesight have increased as a percentage of the population. Our ability to curb poor eyesight with glasses has prevented this genetic code from acting as a Darwinian filter. Logic would indicate that those with poor eyesight (including me) would die off faster and, as a result, produce fewer young in a primitive world. But, given today's circumstances, I wonder if we have seen an ever-increasing number of people with bad eyesight. Could we conclude that our dependence on corrective lenses is, in fact, reducing our ability to see naturally? Or, has the population now reached some type of equilibrium that will remain in place as we continue to evolve?

  3. The question is whether or not this percentage has increased over the past ~200 years. Logically, one could assume that nature would weed out those with poor eyesight (including me). Our inability to hunt food would lead to a shorter lifespan and ultimately fewer children with poor eyesight. However, with our dependence on corrective lenses, this form of natural selection has been removed.

    So has the percentage increased? And is it continuing to increase? We may find that our dependence on corrective lenses is, in fact, destroying our collective vision. Or, we may discover that we have reached some equilibrium.

  4. @rad707: I think the study says the % went up in the past decade alone.

    @monica: One solution would be to print stuff in larger typefaces.


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