Jerry Seinfeld once quipped about the association between glasses and intelligence, “Why do we think that glasses makes us look more intelligent? Is it from the endless hours of reading and studying and researching that this person supposedly blew out their eyeballs?”

Turns out, there’s actually some truth to that. Or, at least that’s the conclusion of recent study published in BMJ. The study reviewed the records of 67,798 patients from England, Scotland and Wales. The data suggested for every additional year of education these patients underwent, their myopic refractive error increased by −0.18D, and that the true casual affect was even stronger at -0.27D. The research also said that the relation is “linear for those leaving full time education between the ages of 15 and 18 years.”1

The findings may lend credence to similar research that has associated time spent outdoors in childhood with decreased levels of myopia.2,3

Myopia in general is rapidly increasing; currently, 30% to 50% of adults in the United States and Europe are myopic and, researchers project, by 2050, half the world’s population will be myopic.1

1. Mountjoy E, Davies N, Plotnikov D, et al. Education and myopia: assessing the direction of causality by mendelian randomization. BMJ. 2018;361:k2022.
2. Wu P, Tsai C, Wu H, et al. Outdoor activity during class recess reduces myopia onset and progression in school children. Ophthalmology. 2013;120:1080-5.
3. He M, Xiang F, Zeng Y, et al. Effect of time spent outdoors at school on the development of myopia among children in China: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;314:1142-8.