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Rise in myopia 'linked to growth of education': Study

By Jennifer Cockerell

Published 12/05/2015

The number of people with short-sightedness is rising in Europe, with a study finding the problem to be nearly twice as common in those aged between 25 and 29 as from 55 to 59.

Research by King's College, London found the condition, myopia, was also twice as prevalent in those achieving a higher education compared with those who left school before the age of 16.

Experts said this may reflect a number of factors, such as people who have spent more time studying being in outdoor light less, an increase in the use of computers, a longer educational day with more after-school tuition, and being involved in less outdoor play.

Shared genetic factors underlying myopia and intelligence, or factors related to educational opportunity such as socio-economic status or maternal nutrition, were also offered as potential reasons.

Myopia is the most common eye condition worldwide but experts said the prevalence is "significantly increasing", especially in south east Asia.

They analysed data relating to more than 60,000 people from studies carried out between 1990 and 2013 and found that compared with participants born in the 1920s with only primary education, reaching higher education or being born in the 1960s doubled the chance of myopia.

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