Education is critically important in ensuring a more secure future. Generally speaking, the better educated you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to earn more and achieve more in your life. But what most people don’t know is that getting more education can also have an impact on your vision. At least, that’s the result of a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Ophthalmology at the Mainz University Medical Center in Germany.
Specifically, those researchers found that every school year completed increases a person’s level of nearsightedness, and those with higher levels of education also tend to have worse vision than those with less education. That’s especially pertinent to people in Singapore, where myopia is a serious health problem – and where education is very important. How important? Global education firm Pearson recently ranked Singapore third in its scale of cognitive skills and educational attainment, led only by South Korea and Japan. That’s something to be proud of.
But myopia is also prevalent in Singapore; in fact, studies suggest as many as 65 percent of preteen Singaporean children have some degree of myopia, and national health initiatives are being promoted aimed at encouraging behaviors that might help decrease that number.
Myopia is more than just an annoying vision problem; over time, it can cause significant visual impairment, and it’s been linked with higher levels of retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma. It’s also a growing health concern, especially among Asian countries where the rates are much higher than elsewhere in the world.
In this study, the correlation between education and myopia was so strong, the researchers said the results suggest educational level may have a greater impact on myopia than genetic factors. Another lifestyle factor – the amount of sunlight the eye receives – has also been potentially linked with myopia, spurring the National Myopia Prevention Programme initiative aimed at getting kids outdoors more often to play and reducing the amount of near-work that’s assigned in school.
Laser surgery is a popular procedure that can help treat myopia, gently reshaping the cornea so the eye “sees” as it should. But that doesn’t mean it’s an ideal solution for everyone, nor should it be considered a preventive strategy for myopia. If you’d like to learn more about laser surgery and how it could help improve your vision, see an eye doctor for an evaluation and learn about other things you can do to help preserve your vision.