Those jokes told at school weren’t entirely off base: nerdy kids do wear glasses.
(But nerds are set to inherit the earth, right? Just look at Bill Gates!)
A study done by researchers based at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University in England has found that people who spend more time involved in full time education have a higher risk of developing short-sightedness, or myopia.
Using a technique called Mendelian randomisation, they analyzed 44 genetic variants associated with myopia. The study also looked at 69 genetic variants associated with years of schooling. Over 67,700 men and women aged 40 to 69 years from the UK formed their database.
The results showed that not only genes but also environmental and social factors may have major effects on deciding who develops myopia.
Related: What Sunglasses Do You Need?
In fact, researchers pinpointed one specific non-genetic factor that could help kids avoid glasses the most: time spent playing outside.
“Given the advantages of time spent outdoors on mental health and the protection it provides against obesity and chronic diseases, we might all benefit from spending more time outside,” stated the study’s author, Denize Ata.
Want further evidence? Researchers pointed to East Asia, where early intense educational pressures combined with little time for play outdoors has led to almost 50% of children being myopic by the end of primary school.
In both Britain and the U.S these numbers are lower.
Currently, 30-50% of adults in the United States and Europe are myopic. The good news is that there are actually some fantastic styles in glasses to choose from. Might as well look great while learning, right?