-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of
education are associated with a greater risk for nearsightedness,
according to new research.
People who are nearsighted have trouble seeing things in the
The researchers said this is the first population-based study to
suggest that environmental factors may be more important than
genetics in the development of nearsightedness, formally known as
For the study, the researchers looked at more than 4,600
Germans, ages 35 to 74, and found that 24 percent of those who had
not completed high school were nearsighted, compared with 35
percent of high school and vocational school graduates, and 53
percent of college graduates.
The researchers at the University Medical Center in Mainz,
Germany, also found that people who spent more years in school had
worse nearsightedness, with the severity increasing for each year
The investigators also assessed the effect of genetics on
nearsightedness, but concluded that it had much less impact on the
severity of nearsightedness than education level, according to the
study published online June 26 in the journal
The findings suggest, but don't prove, a link between
nearsightedness and level of education.
The findings also suggest that one way to reverse rising rates
of nearsightedness worldwide could be to encourage young people to
go outside more often, the researchers said. They noted that
research involving children and young adults in Asia and Denmark
showed that more time outdoors is associated with less
"Since students appear to be at a higher risk of nearsightedness, it makes sense to encourage them to spend more time outdoors as a precaution," study lead author Dr. Alireza Mirshahi said in a journal news release.
Nearsightedness affects about 42 percent of Americans, while the
rate is up to 80 percent in developed Asian nations, according to
the news release.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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