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Humanist
07-10-2014, 07:28 AM
Why nerds need glasses: People with more education are more likely to be nearsighted (http://www.10news.com/news/why-nerds-need-glasses)

Patricia Waldron, Inside Science


[E]ducation level was more important than genetics in predicting whether a person would develop myopia or nearsightedness. Both words describe a vision condition where distant objects are blurry.

"We are surprised because about 50 years ago myopia was thought to be almost completely determined by genetics," said Alireza Mirshahi, an ophthalmologist and researcher at the University Medical Center Mainz in Germany. "We see that genetic factors do play a role but the role of environmental factors is much more important."

alan
07-10-2014, 08:12 PM
I think its been obvious for a long time that heavy reading in childhood is the main cause of short sight. I tend to think this has been suppressed to avoid putting children off reading for the sake of vanity. It used to be seamstresses that were known to be 'blind' which basically meant very bad short sighted. Again, it was caused by long hours of focusing very close. I would eat my hat if the short sighted epidemic is not due to reading and now computers too. I remember at school all the bookish kids had glasses and few of the outdoors types did. The epidemic of short sight in the far east is surely down to the incredibly intense and pressuring education systems there, not to mention the love of computers.

I avoided glasses, unlike my siblings, by being the family problem child with a misspent childhood and being a stranger to reading beyond comics until I was well into my teens. Mind you I think I am heading into long sighted now.

razyn
07-10-2014, 10:14 PM
Also, nearsighted kids who can't see the ball coming don't get on the team, so they go read a book.

jdean
07-10-2014, 11:14 PM
Currently peering through a pair of dark prescription specks I bought about five years ago for a skiiing holiday, thankfully I'll be able to pick up my frames fitted with nice scratch free lenses tomorrow. It's been a trying week and my eyes itch : )

geebee
07-11-2014, 12:03 PM
When I saw the thread title, all I could read was, "Why nerds need ...". I had to click on it, because I was just sure the next words would read, "... love, too." :)

EDIT: To be a bit more serious, the subject of the thread is not really a new idea. Parents who even many years ago told their children, "You'll hurt your eyes doing that" -- meaning either spending too much time reading or watching TV, or being "too close" -- perhaps really were on to something.

I was an avid reader as a child, but also spent lots of time outdoors. I used to have 20/15 vision, but after I turned 50 I needed reading glasses -- for both presbyopia (literally, "elder eyes") and astigmatism.

Without my glasses, I have a hard time reading even the usual size print in a paper back novel. (When I first began to need glasses, I'd actually thought that printers had taken to using less ink in order to save money -- print seemed somehow "paler" than it used to.)

With my glasses, I can easily read very tiny print -- certainly anything as large as 4 picas, or 3 picas if necessary, at a normal reading distance. I could actually read the paper back without my glasses, but it's hard to find my place again if I take my eyes off the page for even a moment.

Not sure if I really qualified as a nerd, though. I usually out-performed most of my peers in standardized tests, but got lousy grades. I was, in fact, considered a major underperformer and even class clown. [Something I'm sure that no one who knows me today would ever believe.]

My studious wife, on the other hand, first began to need glasses (for myopia) in third grade. (And she had the highest GPA in her graduating class of 1000 in high school. In most schools that would have made her valedictorian, but her school also included some non-academic factors.)

alan
07-11-2014, 01:40 PM
I was just one of those kids who always wanted to be outdoors until my mid teens. I always felt imprisoned in the classroom, starting out the window, wanting to be outside etc. I was a late developer in bookishness. It seems to me that the damage to sight must be down to too much close focusing a crucial period of development. I seem to recall very few people had glasses in early primary school c. 5 to 8 but then there was an epidemic of kids getting glasses over the next few years - usually the bookish ones. So, I would guess the damage is done in that period when people become proficient at reading and get really into heavier reading. I laughed at that comment about parents warning about looking too close at stuff, sitting too near the television etc - in chicken and egg style I am not sure if that was a cause or people sitting close to the television was just the first sign they were getting short sighted.


When I saw the thread title, all I could read was, "Why nerds need ...". I had to click on it, because I was just sure the next words would read, "... love, too." :)

EDIT: To be a bit more serious, the subject of the thread is not really a new idea. Parents who even many years ago told their children, "You'll hurt your eyes doing that" -- meaning either spending too much time reading or watching TV, or being "too close" -- perhaps really were on to something.

I was an avid reader as a child, but also spent lots of time outdoors. I used to have 20/15 vision, but after I turned 50 I needed reading glasses -- for both presbyopia (literally, "elder eyes") and astigmatism.

Without my glasses, I have a hard time reading even the usual size print in a paper back novel. (When I first began to need glasses, I'd actually thought that printers had taken to using less ink in order to save money -- print seemed somehow "paler" than it used to.)

With my glasses, I can easily read very tiny print -- certainly anything as large as 4 picas, or 3 picas if necessary, at a normal reading distance. I could actually read the paper back without my glasses, but it's hard to find my place again if I take my eyes off the page for even a moment.

Not sure if I really qualified as a nerd, though. I usually out-performed most of my peers in standardized tests, but got lousy grades. I was, in fact, considered a major underperformer and even class clown. [Something I'm sure that no one who knows me today would ever believe.]

My studious wife, on the other hand, first began to need glasses (for myopia) in third grade. (And she had the highest GPA in her graduating class of 1000 in high school. In most schools that would have made her valedictorian, but her school also included some non-academic factors.)

Táltos
07-11-2014, 02:25 PM
Really?? I'm not so sure about all of this. I am nearsighted. I had to start wearing glasses in the second grade. I really don't think I was so studious then even though I have a couple of college degrees now. My father was nearsighted. I also was very sports oriented having only a brother, and a bunch of male cousins around me. I was the only girl. I was the pitcher for my softball team for years. My cousins even had me pitch hardball to them, and I had no problem catching their line drives. I also played quarterback for them when we played "American" football.

My daughter who will only be in first grade at the start of the next school year just got her first pair of glasses. She looks super cute in them, and she is super smart. However, I really don't see how kindergarten just pushed her eyes over into myopia already.

I am a Star Wars nerd though. :P

alan
07-11-2014, 02:44 PM
Its probably complex with some to do with genes and some to do with early reading. I am just giving an opinion based on subjective observation and am not claiming any scientific basis. I could be wrong but I do think its partly down to early reading but clearly that is not the whole story. It just seemed so striking to me that the more bookish kids nearly all got glasses at some point before 12 while the less bookish ones seemed to never need glasses. It was almost uncanny that way although there was one exception I can think of who had glasses but was far from bookish and more into trouble making lol. Funny thing is the rare Young Mr Perfect sort of kids who were good at sports and academic too also did not seem to generally need glasses. It also seemed to me that it was more common among girls than boys to be short sighted and where I lived girls c. 6 to 12 were far far less outdoors than boys to the point that they seemed kind of invisible out of school hours to us 'street kids'.

I certainly dont think there is a straight correlation between intelligence and glasses although I do think the mind is more like a muscle than people realise and exercising the brain will develop areas so bookish kids probably do develop their brains in some areas more than people who spend all their time kicking a ball. It has been shown that people who exercise certain area of the brains enlarge that area in a way that can actually be physically measured.


Really?? I'm not so sure about all of this. I am nearsighted. I had to start wearing glasses in the second grade. I really don't think I was so studious then even though I have a couple of college degrees now. My father was nearsighted. I also was very sports oriented having only a brother, and a bunch of male cousins around me. I was the only girl. I was the pitcher for my softball team for years. My cousins even had me pitch hardball to them, and I had no problem catching their line drives. I also played quarterback for them when we played "American" football.

My daughter who will only be in first grade at the start of the next school year just got her first pair of glasses. She looks super cute in them, and she is super smart. However, I really don't see how kindergarten just pushed her eyes over into myopia already.

I am a Star Wars nerd though. :P

geebee
07-11-2014, 05:34 PM
Well, there's always the possibility that it works the other way. The kids who are more nearsighted can't play sports as well, so read more. Reading is a close-up activity that wouldn't necessarily be as quickly affected by being nearsighted as, say, trying to catch a baseball.

In fact, it seems that it's usually more distant tasks like trying to read things written on a chalkboard that first call attention to the fact that a child may need glasses.

So again, maybe the correlation is that nearsighted folks are likely spend more years in school?

Telfermagne
07-13-2014, 01:38 AM
It would be interesting to investigate the claim more thoroughly, it makes sense that nearsightedness could be a both-and issue as opposed to an either-or when it comes to genetic-environmental causes. The problem as usual is determining which of the causes is the chief one.

In my own case I was diagnosed as nearsighted at an early age, around 5 years old. I did spend quite a bit of time with comic books, television, NES and such but I was also active. Nearsightedness is a rare occurrence in my family, but the fact that it occurs at all among my predecessors implies a hereditary predisposition and when one considers that those predecessors were yeomen who worked their own land (not a lot of academia) the premise that intensive book learning is a significant factor in developing nearsightedness is brought into question.

I can see that intensive studying could exacerbate the condition. The scenario being: 1.) genetic/hereditary predisposition and 2.) exacerbation by extreme "focusing in". I cannot deny that in my own case my nearsighted state got noticeably worse in college (it is now 20/200), but that could have been coincidence (age related progression that coincidentally happened to get worse as my studiousness increased).

Erik
07-13-2014, 01:50 AM
Interesting, now I can see why my father used to tell me not to read in the dark when I was a little kid. :P

geebee
07-13-2014, 09:27 AM
Interesting, now I can see why my father used to tell me not to read in the dark when I was a little kid. :P

My dad used to tell me that, too. But if I left the light on, he'd say, "Turn off that light and go to bed."

I'd blame him for my glasses, except that he got his at a younger age than I did. Both of us were adults, but I was 50 when I got my first pair. Maybe it's the dimmer florescent bulbs now in use? Yeah, I'll blame that. :)

Mandoos
07-16-2014, 05:05 AM
Well the way I see it, more education often demands students to gain more knowledge by increasingly tedious study and focused thinking than if they weren't "educated" in the most general sense of the word. Add that to increased exposure to computer/phone screen and you reach a first world dilemma. Your eyes will strain.

None of my relatives in India have this problem, but me and my siblings' (and all of my cousins who were born and reside within US like us) eyesight powers almost render ourselves blind, much to our parent's surprise. It's no coincidence you suddenly can't function without glasses or contacts.

At first I didn't even recognize my nearsightedness until the mandatory second grade test told me I need to get glasses. And once I got glasses my eyesight became progressively worse. Its the same story for many people I know irl, most of whom I may add are first/second generation immigrants, whether they were related to me or not.

alan
07-16-2014, 09:03 PM
The optician apparently told my wife recently that the process that gives many people long sight as they age has improved her shortsightedness somewhat! I probably should have glasses as my sight for tiny writing and reading in poor light conditions is definately not what it once was.

Is laser eye surgery big in the US? I know a few people who have had it. I believe the Soviets invented it by chance when treating cataracts.

parasar
07-16-2014, 10:56 PM
The optician apparently told...

Is laser eye surgery big in the US? I know a few people who have had it. I believe the Soviets invented it by chance when treating cataracts.
Yes. In the surgical world very fast food like - with some ophthalmologists perfoming upwards of 10 surgeries a day.

Mamluk
07-18-2014, 05:44 AM
Yes. In the surgical world very fast food like - with some ophthalmologists perfoming upwards of 10 surgeries a day.

I have ambivalent feelings towards the LASIK surgery I had done 5 years ago. It's very much marketed by some ophthalmologists, almost to the point that they don't always have your best interests at heart (i.e. If one is an ideal candidate for the procedure)--they see dollar signs when you walk through their door.

Yes, it's nice to not wear glasses or contacts, especially since I like to swim laps, but my eyes are very dry now. I try to keep eye drops nearby.

Zavod34
11-04-2014, 12:08 AM
When you're busy in this sense you may develop these kinds of problems.

Zavod34
11-04-2014, 12:24 AM
I always thought visual impairment had to do with the traits of certain meta ethnicities.

Mandoos
01-17-2015, 05:12 AM
I came across this article with some explanations about myopia in our generation. Now it all makes sense why there seems to be no genetic or even educational factors that most likely influence eyesight, rather the presence of sunlight.

My immediate family has vitamin D deficiencies because we haven't been exposed to as much sunlight in the US as our relatives have back in India. My cousins who live there are surprisingly more studious and educated than me, since the highly competitive educational system in India is academically demanding, however none of them need glasses. They get plenty of sunshine from the sunny, tropical climate. I, being born and raised here, have the worst eyesight in the family, can barely recognize anything a foot away from me and rarely have spent a persistent amount of time outdoors my whole life. Fortunately there is hope for coming generations.

It seems like I am gullible seeing what I wrote before, but this explanation is more believable, since I now understand that more countries are expanding their literacy/education regardless of lifestyle or climate differences.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150116-why-are-we-short-sighted


In fact, the experiences of the Inuit in Canada should have settled that question nearly 50 years ago. Whereas the older generation had next-to-no cases of short-sightedness, between 10-25% of their children all needed glasses. “That would never be possible with a genetic disease,” says Nina Jacobsen at Glostrup University Hospital in Copenhagen. Over that same period, the Inuit had started to leave their traditional lifestyles of hunting and fishing for a more Western way of life – a far more likely cause of their decline. “Short-sightedness is an industrial disease,” says Ian Flitcroft at Children’s University Hospital, Dublin. Our genes may still play a role in deciding who becomes short-sighted, but it was only through a change in environment that the problems began to emerge.

Part of that change would have been education and literacy – one of the most common explanations for short-sightedness. At first the evidence seemed to be strong: just look at the sea of glinting specs in any university lecture theatre or academic conference, and you would seem to find proof of a link. Yet epidemiological studies suggest the effects are much smaller than once believed. “The more we studied it and measured the amount people read, the more the association seemed to vanish,” says Flitcroft. One large study following the progress of children in Ohio appeared to show no correlation at all with reading, though we should not yet rule out the effect completely, says Jacobsen.

Instead, many now argue that it is the time spent indoors, rather than reading per se, that matters most. Study after study, from Europe, Australia, and Asia, have all found that people who spend more time outside are far less likely to get short-sighted than people whose lives are mostly confined within four walls.


Why would that be? One popular explanation is that sunlight somehow nourishes the eyes. Scott Read at Queensland University of Technology, for instance, recently equipped a group of schoolchildren with a special watch that recorded their overall movements, and the light intensity, every 30 seconds for two weeks.

The kids with good eyesight turned out to be no more active than those with specs – ruling out the possibility that exercise and general good health protect the eyes. Instead, glasses prescriptions seemed to hinge, almost exclusively, on the time spent in the sunshine. Bright sunlight can be thousands of times more intense than lighting inside (though your eyes may mask the difference) – and the more sunlight the children enjoyed, the less likely they were to need glasses.

Perhaps it is because sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D, which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain, and might also regulate eye health. A more widely accepted idea is that sunshine triggers the release of dopamine, directly in the eye itself. Short-sightedness is caused by excessive growth of the eyeball, making it more difficult for the lens to focus an image on the retina, but dopamine seems to put the brakes on this and keep it in a healthier shape.

Getting the blues

Alternatively, it could be a question of colour. Green and blue wavelengths tend to be focused at the front of the retina, while red light hits the back. Since indoor lighting tends to be redder than the sun’s rays, the mismatch could confuse the eyeball’s control mechanisms. “It tells the eye that it’s not focusing on the optimal place, and so it has to grow and compensate for that,” says Chi Luu at the University of Melbourne. Sure enough, he has found that chicks raised in red light are more likely to be short-sighted than those growing up with blue or green surroundings.

lgmayka
01-17-2015, 10:41 AM
I like this explanation for short-sightedness, because it coincides with my loathing of the "warm" (red-shifted) light bulbs typically used indoors. I myself prefer "daylight" (closer to true white) bulbs. A photographer friend tells me that I'm "wrong" because the majority of the population prefers red-shifted ("sunset") colors. In other words, "normal" people prefer to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, whereas I prefer the truth. If that makes me "abnormal" (or depressed), so be it.

Progressive Myopia or Hyperopia Can Be Induced in Chicks and Reversed by Manipulation of the Chromaticity of Ambient Light (http://www.iovs.org/content/54/13/8004.long)
---
Rearing chicks in red light caused progressive myopia, while rearing in blue light caused progressive hyperopia. Light-induced myopia or hyperopia in chicks can be reversed to hyperopia or myopia, respectively, by an alteration in the chromaticity of ambient light. Manipulation of chromaticity may be applicable to the management of human childhood myopia.
---

Táltos
01-17-2015, 08:04 PM
I came across this article with some explanations about myopia in our generation. Now it all makes sense why there seems to be no genetic or even educational factors that most likely influence eyesight, rather the presence of sunlight.

My immediate family has vitamin D deficiencies because we haven't been exposed to as much sunlight in the US as our relatives have back in India. My cousins who live there are surprisingly more studious and educated than me, since the highly competitive educational system in India is academically demanding, however none of them need glasses. They get plenty of sunshine from the sunny, tropical climate. I, being born and raised here, have the worst eyesight in the family, can barely recognize anything a foot away from me and rarely have spent a persistent amount of time outdoors my whole life. Fortunately there is hope for coming generations.

It seems like I am gullible seeing what I wrote before, but this explanation is more believable, since I now understand that more countries are expanding their literacy/education regardless of lifestyle or climate differences.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150116-why-are-we-short-sighted

I don't think this is true. I spent my youth outdoors. I remember many bright sunny days and was active in sports. Yet I'm still near sighted. It seems to run in my father's side of the family, and not my mother's.

Táltos
01-17-2015, 08:07 PM
I like this explanation for short-sightedness, because it coincides with my loathing of the "warm" (red-shifted) light bulbs typically used indoors. I myself prefer "daylight" (closer to true white) bulbs. A photographer friend tells me that I'm "wrong" because the majority of the population prefers red-shifted ("sunset") colors. In other words, "normal" people prefer to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, whereas I prefer the truth. If that makes me "abnormal" (or depressed), so be it.

lgmayka LOL!

Mandoos
01-17-2015, 09:06 PM
I don't think this is true. I spent my youth outdoors. I remember many bright sunny days and was active in sports. Yet I'm still near sighted. It seems to run in my father's side of the family, and not my mother's.

It's some food for thought. Maybe the factors vary from person to person.

parasar
01-18-2015, 07:49 AM
I don't think this is true. I spent my youth outdoors. I remember many bright sunny days and was active in sports. Yet I'm still near sighted. It seems to run in my father's side of the family, and not my mother's.

My guess is that outdoors perhaps you were varying your focal length, but indoors the range was more limited - around your near sight focal length. And once you get corrective lenses, there is no possibility of near-sightedness to self correct.

Táltos
01-18-2015, 03:25 PM
My guess is that outdoors perhaps you were varying your focal length, but indoors the range was more limited - around your near sight focal length. And once you get corrective lenses, there is no possibility of near-sightedness to self correct.

I have no idea. I wish I could snap my fingers and cure it as it's annoying. (I can't make out the clock numbers across the room in the morning.) I have not heard of nearsightedness completely correcting itself, but allegedly my eyesight has become "slightly better" a few times over the years. Not much that I would notice it though. I can say this, if I really wanted to- I can catch a ball without wearing corrective lenses. Even though details are very fuzzy, I can see objects and things coming at me!

surbakhunWeesste
01-20-2015, 06:44 AM
I have nearsightedness and terrible astigmatism. I don't like reading a lot, never did read a lot, didn't watch a lot of TV as a kid
:( But I still qualify for nerd-ity. I have a friend who played video games day in and out as a kid, read a lot, he still has amazing "eagle eyes" and he too qualifies for nerd-ity. Unfair! I rather would choose to be a nerd without glasses >:(

rock hunter
03-14-2015, 07:37 AM
So here I am walking around the Serengeti my favorite walking stick in hand and squinting to see when all of a sudden a lion I thought was a big fuzzy rock jumps up and has me for dinner
finishing any hope of future contributions to the human race my DNA might have made
and curing my bad eyesight.

Nearsightedness is clearly is a disadvantage and should have been mutated out by natural selection , IE lions ,tigers ,crocodiles,bears ,cliffs, etc unless it was a side effect of something that was an advantage and that saved it ?

What if whatever the chromosomes that causes some brains to process information better then most also causes nearsightedness with the advantage of better and faster thinking countered this disadvantage of bad eyesight when it came to avoiding dangers.
That or the nearsighted can also run faster then most.

DMXX
03-14-2015, 08:35 AM
Recently, my local (cheap) opticians confirmed I'm formally slightly myopic (-0.5) and had slight bilateral astigmatism. As someone involved in healthcare with some insight into opthamology (pun unintended), I posed a simple question to her that was unanswered; if I'm near-sighted, why do things up close also seem slightly blurred? Why does my vision improve when I spend time away from screens? I had beyond 20/20 vision as a child and that returned two years ago at a five-day festival, where not a single screen could be stared at. This optician seemed more interested in forcing me to purchase a pair of glasses.

A trainee optician friend of mine suggested I might have "computer vision syndrome (http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome?sso=y)". Looked up the list and realised I had it. As computer work is unavoidable at present, I resorted to purchasing anti-glare glasses (Gunnar's). I understand they're all the rage in the tech industry and among competitive gamers. They have helped tremendously with the headaches and somewhat with the visual blurring. The ultimate solution would of course be a reduction in overall screen staring time.

That's my experience; in my case, nurture thoroughly usurped nature. The ironic part, of course, is I've ended up wearing glasses most of the time these days... At least these ones have the upshot of making me feel like some elite hacker while staring at rows of data: :D

http://consoledomination.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/011509gunnar001.jpg

rock hunter
03-14-2015, 06:31 PM
Glass vs Plastic lenses in eye glasses ,a bit off topic.

A fast tip to my fellow nerds who might star gaze or photograph
The refractive index of glass is still far superior to that of any plastic or
poly-carbonate or whatever they are calling plastic lenses these days to
overprice them,soda bottles are a poly-carbonate by the way .

Were you to compare glass vs plastic lenses of identical power
you would see with glass a crispness that is lost with plastic
and you would toss out the plastic were it not for weight
savings and break resistance.