A new study has linked myopia with years of studies – according to the results obtained by the researchers, greater number of years spent studying at school is associated with increased cases and worsened severity of myopia. While higher studies might be good for one’s brain and pockets, it might have the reverse effect on one’s eyes.
What is myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is the condition whereby objects are seen more clearly when they are near to the person, while objects found at a distance look blurred; hence the use of eyeglasses to make the blurry images look clear. Sight is only possible when light rays hit the eyes whereby the latter bend the light rays accordingly to produce an image of the objects being seen. When the eyes fail to bend these light rays correctly, distant objects are not seen as clear entities. This is brought about by an error in refraction that occurs in the eye apparatus: the eye is not able to refract light adequately such that distant objects appear blurry. The parts of the eye responsible for the refraction of light are the cornea primarily, and the lens. The focusing power of the cornea and lens of myopic people is too large when compared to the length of the eyeball: in this way, the light rays are bent too much as opposed to the normal refraction of light. This causes the refractive error that makes images appear blurry.
Myopia: genetics or environmental conditions?
The scientists behind the study purport that nearsightedness is becoming more and more common nowadays. Severe myopia is associated with increased risks of other eye ailments including premature cataract and glaucoma. Experts have suggested that environmental conditions might account for the increased incidence of myopia in the modern world. Some researchers even say that myopia is an acquired trait and not a genetic one.
In order to gauge the effects of environment on myopia, the researchers of the new study examined 4658 Germans suffering from myopia. Their results showed that the more educated the person was, the more was myopia prevalent. 53% of university graduates were myopia, while 35 % of those having graduated from high school were short-sighted, with 24% of those participants without high school education. Furthermore, it was seen that those having spent more years of schooling were myopic to a greater extent. Every additional year of school would exacerbate nearsightedness.
The effect of long studies was found to be more pronounced than genetics.
The cure for myopia could be spending more time outside, in daylight
The researchers therefore advised for students to spend more time outdoors since they seem to have a higher risk of myopia, as they found that other studies have shown that those children spending more time in daylight would be less affected by myopia.