Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Are more educated people more likely to be short-sighted?

The lead author, Dr. Denize Atan, a consultant senior lecturer in ophthalmology at the University of Bristol, said the mechanism is unknown but may have something to do with reduced exposure to natural daylight. "Policymakers should be aware that the educational practices used to teach children and to promote personal and economic health may have the unintended outcome of causing increasing levels of myopia and later visual disability as a result".

They analysed 44 genetic variants associated with myopia and 69 genetic variants associated with years of schooling for 67,798 men and women aged 40 to 69 years from the UK Biobank database.

Spending more years in full time education increases the risk of developing short-sightedness or myopia - a leading cause of visual impairment worldwide, a study has found.

For more than a century, observational studies have reported links between education and myopia, but whether time spent in education causes myopia, children with myopia are more studious, or socioeconomic position and a higher level of education leads to myopia has not been known with any certainty.

This would mean that a United Kingdom university graduate with 17 years of education would, on average, be at least -1 diopter more myopic than someone who left school at 16 with 12 years of education, a level of myopia that would require glasses for driving.

Longer hours of studying causes myopia or short-sightedness, a new study finds. This level of myopia would mean needing glasses for driving. However, being predisposed to myopia did not have any noticeable effect on one's education. Young Jewish boys from these communities had a much higher rate of myopia than young girls as they received a less, comparatively.

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While previous studies only showed the existence of a link between education and nearsightedness, researchers say the current study provides a strong evidence for a causal relationship between the two.

"This evidence suggests that it is poor light rather than reading per se that damages your eyes, and has been one of the main drivers for recent investment in bright light classrooms to protect against myopia in southeast Asia".

A new research based on genetic data reveals that spending more time studying in school can indeed have a negative effect on people's eyesight. But there was insufficient evidence that this could explain the findings.

They point to East Asia, where early intense educational pressures combined with little time for play outdoors has led to nearly 50% of children being myopic by the end of primary school, compared with less than 10% in a study of British children.

More time spent in education seems to be a causal risk factor for myopia, according to a study published online June 6 in The BMJ.

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