Why do smart people wear glasses?

Why do smart people wear glasses? Myopia is a consequence of intelligence

Correlation between level of education, intelligence and myopia checked
It is not uncommon for smart people to wear glasses. Is that a subjective feeling or is there a plausible explanation for it? Scientists at the Mainz University Medical Center also asked themselves this question and examined the relationship between the occurrence of nearsightedness (myopia) and cognitive abilities. The effects of intelligence on eyesight are therefore only given indirectly - namely through the level of education.

Intelligence itself does not have any influence on the development of myopia, but the higher the level of education, the greater the likelihood of being dependent on glasses. This is the result of the research team at the Mainz University Medical Center as part of the “Myopia and Cognitive Performance: Results From the Gutenberg Health Study”. The study results were published in the journal "Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science".

Myopia the most common eye disease
Myopia is by far the most common eye disease, with severe myopia also being one of the main causes of visual impairment, reports the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). In addition, myopia is "closely linked to an increased risk of secondary diseases such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, premature cataracts and glaucoma." Knowledge of the causes of the disease plays a central role in early diagnosis and thus also in treatment. Because in the early stages, myopia can be treated well, if not cured.

Are nearsighted people not only more educated but also more intelligent?
According to Professor Dr. Norbert Pfeiffer, Director of the Eye Clinic and Polyclinic of the Mainz University Medical Center, was already aware from previous studies that “a high level of education often goes hand in hand with the development of nearsightedness.” In the current study, jointly led by Prof. Pfeiffer, Professor Dr. Alireza Mirshahi, Director of the Dardenne Eye Clinic in Bonn, and Professor Dr. Josef Unterrainer, Head of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the scientists have now examined whether not only the level of education but also intelligence has an impact on the development of myopia.

Checked cognitive skills and eyesight
For their investigation, the researchers used the data from the Gutenberg health study at the Mainz University Medical Center. This is one of the world's largest studies in the area of ​​population-based research, according to the JGU. In the sub-cohort, the data of around 4,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 were examined. Cognitive skills were assessed using the so-called Tower of London (TOL) test, which measures the ability to think logically, plan and solve problems in 20 minutes. In addition, the researchers checked the test subjects' eyesight. According to the definition of the study, myopia was myopia from a strength of less than / equal to minus 0.5 diopters.

Apparent connection between myopia and intelligence
In the tests, the “participants with myopia achieved an average result of 14”, while “the comparison group of non-nearsighted people achieved a value of only 12.9”, according to the JGU. In addition, it has been shown that the higher the dioptric value, the better the result in the TOL test. "The severely short-sighted participants with more than six diopters achieved an average value of 14.6," reports JGU. At first, there seemed to be a clear connection between intelligence and myopia.

Duration of education the decisive influencing factor
"Considered in isolation, the cognitive performance, and thus the intelligence, is related to the occurrence of myopia"; report the scientists. However, this apparent connection between myopia and better performance in the TOL test was resolved when the influence of the number of years of education was taken into account. The researchers found that the number of years of education was more directly and more closely related to myopia than cognitive performance. Intelligence is only linked to myopia through the influence of the level of education. "A person's level of education and not their intelligence is primarily decisive for the development of myopia," the scientists report. With two equally intelligent people, the one who goes to school longer and who has a high school diploma is more likely to be nearsighted and more ametropic.

Professor Pfeiffer concludes that the current study further emphasizes the importance of education in connection with myopia. It is now necessary to clarify how this connection arises. In upcoming studies, for example, the influence of working on the screen or the use of smartphones will have to be investigated, the study author continues. (fp)

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Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.