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It’s shortsighted to spend an excessive amount of time indoors, so step exterior to your eyes’ sake | Rachel Cooke

For weeks, I’ve been struggling to pay money for new contact lenses. Whether or not due to Brexit, the pandemic or another unknown issue, my prescription is all the time unavailable. This has by no means occurred earlier than and I’ve worn delicate lenses since I used to be 18, once I begged my mom to purchase them for me earlier than I went to college, the higher that I would espy all of the boys I hoped to get off with at a distance.

As of late, I don’t thoughts how I look in my Coke bottles as a lot as I as soon as did. Besides, I can’t say that I’m blissful. My sun shades are a no-go, ditto my studying glasses. Worst of all, behind my spectacles’ swotty thickness, I really feel (sarcastically) slow-witted and lumbering, as if I’m transferring round in thick fog.

In the hunt for comfort, I picked up Through the Looking Glasses, a brand new e-book by the groovy cultural historian Travis Elborough, during which he tells the lengthy and infrequently fairly unusual story of spectacles. It’s fascinating.

I now know, for example, that the earliest proof of glasses for shortsightedness might be present in Italian ducal paperwork courting from 1451 and that there have been nonetheless auctions of the shells of Atlantic hawksbill sea turtles (used to make, amongst different issues, “tortoiseshell” frames) in London in 1939.

Elborough notes that myopia is on the rise. Within the UK, twice as many 10- to 16-year-olds (one in 5) are shortsighted than 50 years in the past. In 2012, a research of 19-year-old males in South Korea discovered that an astonishing 96.5% have been. Why? One offender is perhaps the truth that our lives are more and more lived indoors. Time spent exterior could assist to guard towards the event of myopia, maybe as a result of mild stimulates the discharge of dopamine within the retina, stopping the overgrowth of the attention that results in it.

Youngsters, you’ve got been warned. Depart your bedrooms instantly within the data that by doing so, you might go on having the ability to learn your countless stream of Snapchat messages.

Emperor Osborne?

A bust of Nero at the British Museum.
A bust of Nero on the British Museum. {Photograph}: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Having been appointed chair of the trustees of the British Museum, there’s discuss of the function that George Osborne, previously David Cameron’s austerity chancellor, will play in serving to the establishment to achieve “ever bigger” audiences. Hmm. In 2002, I used to be dispatched to report on the state of the Conservative get together beneath the disastrous management of Iain Duncan Smith. What was to be accomplished with it? Who had any solutions?

Osborne, then the youngest Tory MP, talked to me in his automobile exterior a college in his constituency in Tatton, Cheshire. He agreed that issues have been unhealthy. Its members, he advised me, have been too previous: “What the get together wants, Rachel, is folks like you…” There was a quick pause whereas I sat to consideration, questioning what on earth he may imply and whether or not I must be flattered or horrified. Then, full throttle, he mentioned it: “Peculiar folks.” Nonetheless, his well-known Caesar-style haircut of 2013 will likely be good for the Roman Gallery.

Faux grass sucks

No fuss, no insects: artificial grass.
No fuss, no bugs: synthetic grass. {Photograph}: Alamy Inventory Picture

When, if ever, will authorities or native councils outlaw synthetic turf? In lockdown, gross sales of the stuff apparently shot up (even earlier than the pandemic, 8m sq m of it have been sold every year). That is insanity. Actual grass absorbs carbon dioxide and helps the insect inhabitants; pretend grass leads to landfill. However these aren’t the one causes I hate it. Homeowners spend their evenings proudly vacuuming their phoney expanses of inexperienced as in the event that they have been carpet, a noise virtually as annoying as that of a high-pressure hose or a leaf blower.

Rachel Cooke is an Observer columnist


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