Don’t Turn a BLIND eye to global warming! ‘Scientists say climate change is making us BLIND’

Now scientists say climate change is making us BLIND

  • University of Toronto researchers looked at 1.7million adults over 65 years old
  • Those in warmer areas were up to 44 percent more likely to have vision problems

Climate change may be speeding up the rate of blindness, a study suggests.

Canadian researchers compared rates of vision problems among 1.7million people across all 50 states in the US.

They found those who lived in warmer regions were up to nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer serious vision impairment compared to those in cooler places.

Exposure to stronger ultraviolet light damages the cornea, lens and retina and also risks irritation and infection.

The experts said the findings were ‘very worrying’ in the context of global warming, which has seen global average temperatures rise by two fahrenheit (1.1 Celsius) since the late 1800s.

Study co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a gerontologist at the University of Toronto, said: ‘With climate change, we are expecting a rise in global temperatures. It will be important to monitor if the prevalence of vision impairment among older adults increases in the future.’

Dr Thomson, who is also the director of the University of Toronto’s Institute of Life Course Aging, added: ‘This link between vision impairment and average county temperature is very worrying, if future research determines that the association is causal.’

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmic Epidemiology, looked at people aged 65 years and up between 2012 and 2017.

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Compared to people living in states with an average temperature below 50F like New York and Maine, those in states with temperatures above 60F — Florida, Texas and Georgia — faced the highest risk.

Those who lived in areas with an average annual temperature of 55 to 59.99F — such as Virginia, Kentucky and California — were 24 percent more likely to have vision problems.

People in states with an average temperature of 50 to 54.99F were 14 percent more likely to struggle.

Scientists warned that the study was observational, meaning it could not prove that warmer temperatures were leading to vision problems. They said further research was needed.


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