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19/10/2017  
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R&D

Educated people are more likely to suffer from sight problems


A new study in the journal Ophthalmology suggests reading and schoolwork may have a greater influence on nearsightedness (also called myopia) than genetics. The findings are based on 4,685 people who underwent eye exams and genetic tests and answered lifestyle surveys. Researchers from the University Medical Centre Mainz in Germany found that among people who had graduated from school after 13 years 60.3 percent were near-sighted.
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The authors claim they have conducted the first population-based study to demonstrate that environmental factors may outweigh genetics in the development of poor vision. While common, short-sightedness or ´myopia´ has become even more prevalent around the world in recent years.

In the US, it affects more than 40 per cent of the population. In the UK, the figure is between 20 and 30 per cent. Meanwhile, developed Asian countries have reported increasing myopia rates of up to 80 per cent, and the rapid growth rate, scientists say, suggests that environmental factors play a significant role.

To try and find a link between intelligence and visions, researchers at the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany examined nearsightedness in 4,658 Germans ages 35 to 74.

Results of their work, known as the Gutenberg Health Study, show that myopia became more prevalent as a person’s education improved. 24 per cent of participants with no secondary school education or other training were nearsighted. Around 35 per cent of secondary school graduates and vocational school graduates were nearsighted, while the figure for university graduates was over half at 53 per cent.

The antidote to the rise in myopia could be as simple as going outside more often.In the last several years, studies of children and young adults in Denmark and Asia show that more time outdoors and exposure to daylight is associated with less nearsightedness.


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