Studying More May Increase Risk Of Needing Prescription Glasses

It is considered a leading cause of visual impairment, affecting 30 to 50 percent of adults in the United States.

Dr Denize Atan, Consultant Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology at the Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences and Honorary Consultant in Neuro-ophthalmology at the Bristol Eye Hospital, who co-led the research with Professor Jez Guggenheim from Cardiff University School of Optometry & Vision Sciences, said: "Our study provides strong evidence that length of time spent in education is a causal risk factor for myopia".

After taking account of potentially influential factors, Mendelian randomisation analyses suggested that every additional year of education was associated with more myopia (a refractive error of?0.27 dioptres a year).

For over a century, observational examinations have announced connections amongst education and myopia.

For the new study, researchers used a method called Mendelian randomization which can measure causal effect with the help of genes.

However, there was little evidence to suggest that myopia was a causal factor for staying in education for longer.

Other research has associated higher light exposure with lower myopia risk, and it is possible that individuals who spend more time in education have less exposure to natural light.

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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. This difference in myopia severity is sufficient to obscure vision for driving underneath lawful benchmarks. This theory has been one of the main drivers for recent investment in "Bright Light" classrooms to protect against myopia in Southeast Asia.

They looked at many specific genetic markers associated with a short-sightedness and the genetic predisposition with time spent in education.

Experts pointed to the experience in East Asia, where schooling means early intense educational pressures and little time for play outdoors.

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.

However, they added that there was still little evidence that this could explain their findings, and that the study provides "strong evidence" that more time spent in education is a risk factor for myopia. They acknowledge that the people in their database were generally healthier than the general population, which could lead to bias.

"Given the benefits of time spent open air on psychological well being and the safety it gives in opposition to weight problems and continual illnesses, we would all profit from spending extra time outdoors".

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