Could it be true that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be short-sighted?
The NHS website seems to think so. It cited a piece of research involving over 67,000 participants which surveyed their educational levels and correlated them to their vision.
The result was that individuals who had higher levels of education were found to be more short-sighted.
Does this mean that if we wanted our children to be educated to at least university level, we should be prepared that they will be Specsavers customers in the future?
Maybe we should start investing in company shares for Vision Direct?
Before we jump to conclusions, we should perhaps think rationally about these claims.
The reasons why eye sight deteriorates can be due to various factors: diet, lifestyle, too much close focus, among others.
When we read to our children, or encourage them to read, we must help them establish good reading habits.
These can include adequate lighting, ensuring no shadow on the book, or not too close focus.
Unfortunately, before bedtime, we tend to do bedtime stories in dim lighting, ostensibly to calm children down, and read in poor conditions.
When a shadow is cast on the book, the eyes have to work extra hard to pick out the words and come under strain.
The same is if we read in the lazy position of lying on our back while holding the book up towards the sky, arms outstretched.
If we lie on our stomachs, propped by elbows and read a book too closely, the focus of the eyes is narrowed and over time the eyes get lazy and this leads to myopia.
Many of the above positions for reading seem normal and it is hard to accept that they are bad, but we have become habituated to them that we just have to pause and consider what we are doing to ourselves and our children.
Being educated does not lead to myopia. But the development of bad habits, exacerbated through the pursuit of knowledge through education, does.
In other words, if you have poor reading habits, then reading more books to gain educational qualifications means you will develop myopia.
What we can do for our children is to encourage them to develop good reading habits. We can also encourage them not to spend too much time on close focus. For example, if they are taking up a musical instrument, such as learning the piano, then make sure the music is lit without shadow, not too glaring, and also that the children break off after some time and do not prolong their close focus. We can encourage them to play outdoors. It is a myth that the colour green is good for the eyes; it is just taking the time to focus of long-distance objects that resets the balance in our eyes.
We can also encourage our children to use less electronic devices and watch less TV, both because of the glare and prolonged close-focus.
We only have one set of eyes to last a lifetime. Those of our little ones have to last a lifetime while being bombarded by things that demand their attention. We can help by guiding them through the growing years and making important decisions that they are unable to conceptualise for their good.