Are people who wear glasses brainier?
It may be a mere stereotype, but scientific research confirms there is indeed a correlation between myopia (near sightedness) and higher intelligence.
This original 1958 finding has since been independently investigated by several studies performed in countries including the United States, Denmark, Singapore, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Israel (Grevers, 2013).
Researchers at the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany conducted a study where they examined nearsightedness in 4,658 Germans ages 35 to 74. This Gutenberg Health study concluded that myopia was more common amongst those with a higher education level.
Similarly, IQ tests and full physical exams of more than 150,000 subjects in Israel revealed that participants with the highest intelligence scores were three times as likely to have myopia as their peers (n.a., 1988).
What’s the underlying reason? In this digital age, the longtime belief was to blame close-up activities, like reading books and playing computer games, but new research indicates otherwise (Hughes, 2011).
Although genetic inheritance plays a role, the increasing rise of refractive error cases suggests that environmental factors, like a deficiency in sunlight, is the guilty cause (Zolfaharifard, 2014).
Data from the Sydney Myopia study of more than 4,000 Australian school children was analyzed by Kathryn Rose, a leading international researcher of visual disorders, to determine whether a lack of outdoor activities might lead to myopia. This Medical Doctor found that the lowest myopia rate was that of outdoorsy 12-year old children (n.a., 2008).
When these 4,000 children were exposed to the outdoors for 10-14 hours per week, this proved to be a preventative factor for myopia. However, a certain level of light and the duration of light exposure are required before light has its preventive effect (Hughes, 2011).
Animal experiments utilizing mice and monkeys also support this theory, researchers say (Park, 2012).
Compared to various countries, why is myopia sweeping through Asian countries at reported rates up to 90%? In a drastic contrast, the stats are less than half in the United States (40%) and less than 1/3 in the United Kingdom (20%-30%) (Park, 2012).
“Because many East Asian children [study more than other school children] and spend more and more time inside, a lot less exposure to sunlight which induces retinal dopamine which inhibits the growth of the eye ball thus inhibiting the development of myopia”, shares Dr. Sie, a retired General Internist and former Intensive Care Physician (Sie, 2015).
Dr. Ian Morgan shares: “Homework is being set in pre-school and children starting school receive around two hours of homework per day. This contrasts with the much more relaxed pace of education in Australia, where homework is virtually non-existent at pre-school and minimal in primary school, and where use of coaching schools is really only a feature of the later years of high school” (n.a., 2013).
To stop the epidemic of myopia, should we make a crucial effort to not adopt a hardcore tiger parent mentality of forcing our children to study for countless hours?
American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2008, August 5). Outdoor Activity And Nearsightedness In Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 16, 2017 from
Are people with poor eyesight more intelligent? (2014, November 14). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://gurumagazine.org/askaguru/are-people-with-poor-eyesight-more-intelligent/
CBBC Newsround | SCI TECH | Clever kids ‘have worse eyesight’ (2004, July 22). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/sci_tech/newsid_3916000/3916325.stm
Czepita, D., Lodygowska, E., & Czepita, M. (2008). Are children with myopia more intelligent? A literature review. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19127804
Dean, C. (1988, December 19). Study Links Intelligence And Myopia. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/20/science/study-links-intelligence-and-myopia.html
Fighting for Equity in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.saveourschools.com.au/national-issues/high-myopia-prevalence-in-east-asia-linked-to-after-school-tutoring
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Hughes, G., & Chiou, P. (2011, June 01). New research an eye opener on cause of myopia. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/01/myopia.causes/index.html
Myopia, High Iq Statistically Linked. (1988, October 29). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1988-10-29/features/8803030506_1_myopia-highest-intelligence-scores-eye-strain
Park, A. (2012, May 7). Why Up to 90% of Asian Schoolchildren Are Nearsighted | TIME.com. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/07/why-up-to-90-of-asian-schoolchildren-are-nearsighted/
Zolfagharifard, E. (2014, July 01). Wear glasses? Then you’re probably SMART: Educated people are more likely to suffer from sight problems, claims study. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2676252/Wear-glasses-Then-youre-probably-SMART-Educated-people-likely-suffer-sight-problems-claims-study.html#ixzz4VsvaTdwQ