Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error in which light focuses in front of, instead of on, the retina. This causes distant objects to appear blurry while close objects appear clear. Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long or when the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, has too much curvature. Myopia usually develops in childhood and becomes worse until about age 20. After that, it generally stabilizes.
Genetics are thought to play a role in myopia, as it tends to run in families. However, the role of extended years of schooling in the development of myopia is also well-recognized. Children who spend more time indoors engaged in close-up activities such as reading and writing are more likely to develop myopia than those who spend more time outdoors.
The good news is that myopia can be treated effectively with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. With early diagnosis and treatment, progression of myopia can be halted or even reversed, and serious complications such as retinal detachment and glaucoma can be avoided.
According to a new study, genetics combined with long years of schooling can lead to nearsightedness in children.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, found that children who are genetically predisposed to nearsightedness are more likely to develop the condition if they spend more time in school.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition in which the eye is unable to focus on distant objects. It is a common problem, affecting an estimated one-third of the world’s population.
While the cause of nearsightedness is not fully understood, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Previous research has shown that nearsightedness is more common in societies where children spend more time indoors, such as in cities or during winter.
The new study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, suggests that this is because nearsightedness is more common in people of East Asian descent, and that this population is more likely to live in densely populated areas.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Ian Morgan, said that the findings could have important implications for the prevention of nearsightedness.
“If we can identify the genes that are involved in myopia, we may be able to develop targeted interventions to prevent or slow the progression of the condition,” he said.
While there is no cure for nearsightedness, it can be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery.