Registered Nurse Rebecca Moak posed for a photo in trauma center of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi Oct. 4, 2013. Reuters

Three senses — sight, smell and taste — are changing as a result of modern civilization, forcing scientists to heed warnings about how the human body is adjusting to evolution. When the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual meeting this week, experts spoke out about how contemporary habits and environmental factors are doing damage, blaming air pollution, excessive time spent indoors and the food industry for doing more harm than good.

“We’re inside, we’re in fake lighting, we’re not spending as much time outside in the context in which our vision system evolved. And our lighting, as well as other things like near work tasks, might be drastically affecting our acuity,” Calgary University professor Amanda Melin said about humanity's eyesight, noting that "near-work" tasks like staring at a computer screen for a long time were also problematic.

A condition that mirrors issues stemming from spending too much time on the computer is called "computer vision syndrome," which causes eye pain after staring at a screen for too long, as well as neurological problems like headaches. Nearly 70 million people around the world have the increased change of having the condition.

Eye growth and function can be improved by being outside in order to allow the retina to focus on visuals with “the right proportions,” Melin added. “I’m a myope and when I take off my glasses you all become extremely blurry. And so we need to think about perhaps putting policies in place to get kids and young adults outdoors more.”

In addition to eyesight, the body’s sense of smell is having a hard time adjusting to polluted environments. Pollution increases the likelihood of people developing anxiety and depression, having issues with social health and becoming obese, Alaska University’s Professor Kara Hoover said at the conference.

“The greener the city the better the environment would be for our sense of smell. And also the greener the city the more we might be encouraged to go our and play in parks, getting exposed to sunlight and getting away from the computer more regularly,” Hoover said.

When it comes to how the food industry has changed the human body, Professor Paul Breslin of Rutgers University equated obesity problems to how human instinct used to react to eating sugar. Ape ancestors would eat sweet fruits when available but then also feasted on other foods. Now, however, humans have access to sweets and fats all the time.

“We climb up into this tree that our society has created and we gorge on the fruit but the tree never comes out of fruit and we never come down out of the tree,” he said.