Segments in this Video

Deterioration of the Eyes (04:04)


Over the last several decades, there has been a steady increase in the number of children that experience myopia, or nearsightedness. Worldwide, more children are myopic than ever before, and not always because of genetics.

Rapid Increase in Population Prevalence (03:36)

Indoor schooling in the 1960s drastically changed the lifestyle of the Inuit people. Myopia rose from 2 to 60 percent in this population, and at similar rates in Singapore and Taiwan.

Sydney Myopia Study (02:06)

Students in Australia were studied to find answers about myopia. Time spent outdoors was correlated with lower rates in myopia. Physical activity was excluded as an influence in development.

Measuring Refractive Error (02:12)

A study on chicks uses bright artificial lighting to determine how much sunlight is required to protect eyesight. Goggles are used on the chick's eyes to artificially induce myopia.

Light Triggered Releases (03:57)

Cone cells in the eyes give high-definition images to the brain during the night, while rod vision at night gives a different sort of image. The switch is triggered by dopamine and without this dopamine release, myopia would likely develop. A trial in China that increased daylight time in schools had a 25 percent decrease in myopic students.

Research to Halt Myopia Development (01:40)

Addressing the refractive error across the entire eye with contact lenses and glasses can slow the progression of myopia. Sunglasses can be worn to protect from UV radiation and allow eyes to receive plenty of light.

Identify and Protect (03:52)

More than 80 percent of koalas in Southeast Queensland have already been lost, and habitats are being destroyed. Two scientists on a mission to protect the koalas bring a dog, Maya, who identifies koala scat.

Detection Dog (03:08)

Before Maya was working to save koalas, she was going to be euthanized, but the scientists saved her. The team tests her on a discrimination trial to make sure she only points out koala poo.

Human Pressures and Koala Health (01:20)

The scientists analyze the scat in the lab and are able to extract genomic DNA from the waste. Scientists are attempting to understand how environmental pressures affect the health of koalas.

Credits: Myopia / Eco-dog: Catalyst (00:23)

Credits: Myopia / Eco-dog: Catalyst

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Myopia / Eco-dog—Catalyst

Part of the Series : Catalyst
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Across the world an extraordinary epidemic of short sightedness is occurring in young children, putting them at risk of severe vision impairment and even blindness in older age. Although the epidemic has been blamed on everything from screen time, to higher education, to genetics, the cause is relatively surprising. As our urban kids spend less time outside, their eyes are growing abnormally from a lack of bright light. In this episode of Catalyst we look into the rise of myopia, and how scientists are finding a way to turn the tide on the epidemic. Also, meet Maya, Australia’s first koala scat detection dog who’s helping researchers on koala conservation projects. Her job? To sniff out Koala poo. Maya’s amazing speed and accuracy enables scientists to better survey koala habitats, health and population numbers.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL117866

ISBN: 978-1-63521-302-7

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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