Longer hours of studying causes myopia or short-sightedness, a new study finds.
A team of researchers in the UK carried out the study by making use of the country's Biobank database, according to a release published in the BMJ. Over the years, the scientists have found - as education has become more formal and standardised, the prevalence of myopia in young adults has increased from around 1 percent in 1980s to about 80-90 percent today.
At this same time, there has been a rapid growth in terms of access to education. This was a pattern that the researchers found in regions like Eastern Asia after the second world war, as well as in China right after the cultural revolution in the mid-1960s.
Another case of intensive education causing vision problems was found in boys among the Orthodox Jewish families where they receive a lot more religion-based education when compared to their sisters. Young Jewish boys from these communities had a much higher rate of myopia than young girls as they received a less, comparatively.
This correlation of extensive study and myopia was so strong, notes the report, that some years ago, schools in eastern Asia already started to put certain controls in place. Looking through that data, scientists stumbled upon another interesting revelation - spending time outdoors seemed to slow down the early onset of short-sightedness.
A college graduate with 17 years of continuous education would be on average, more myopic than someone with only 12 years of education. The level of difference between the two would mean the college graduate would need to wear glasses for tasks like driving a car, notes Science Daily.
The study, after taking into account a number of influential factors suggested that for every additional year of education was associated with more myopia. Having said that, the study found that there was not enough evidence to link the prevalence of myopia to people remaining in education or extending their years of study.
Data shows that east Asian education systems can be blamed for playing a major role in the current "myopia epidemic" that the region is facing, say the researchers. They also mentioned that schooling systems will require substantial changes to help protect the vision of their young ones.