According to a recent study conducted by British researchers, firstborn kids may face greater myopia risk than their siblings due to increased parental involvement.
The trial analyzed 89,000 subjects from the British Biobank longitudinal survey, aged between 40 and 69. They measured demographic data against ophtalmological health, educational background and daily lifestyle. The initial purpose was to determine if there was a connection between birth order and nearsightedness.
While 30% of the participants were proven to have this vision disorder, it was discovered that firstborns are approximately 10% more likely to suffer from myopia than offspring that have been born later. In addition, they are also 20% more susceptible to developing severe nearsightedness, according to estimations made by health experts.
While correlating these results with education levels, a possible contributing factor for this condition was identified. It appears that high levels of education are to blame for 25% of the association between myopia and birth order.
Basically, what researchers suggest is that parents tend to devote much more of their time and energy to firstborns. They are much more invested in educating them and ensuring that their academic performance is up to par, and this engagement may diminish when it comes to later-born children.
Due to the fact that firstborn children have been more involved in activities such as reading or workbook exercises, they continue to apply themselves to hobbies that favor nearsightedness.
“Our study provides an extra piece of evidence linking education and myopia, consistent with the very high prevalence of myopia in countries with intensive education from an early age”, explained study author Jeremy A. Guggenheim, professor of optometry and vision sciences at Cardiff University’s Eye Clinic in U.K.
Indeed, a prior trial whose findings were published on September 15 in the journal JAMA also suggested that being a bookworm isn’t the most beneficial type of behavior when it comes to preventing vision impairment.
The research, which included 1,900 children in China, revealed that schoolkids who prefer the outdoors have a 23% lower risk of becoming nearsighted. Another paper featured in the Singapore Medical Journal showed that myopia rates are much more elevated in subjects with more years of formal education.
This recent study, published on October 8 in the Journal JAMA Ophthalmology, sheds new light on this vision condition, which is becoming increasingly more common among the younger generation. For instance, in some parts of East Asia myopia is prevalent among a staggering 80 to 90% of the population.
Nearsightedness is usually caused by factors such as genetics, limited time spent outside and greater involvement in activities that require focusing up close. For example, spending time watching television or using tablets and smartphones is greatly detrimental to eye health.
According to estimations, this growing myopia epidemic might affect up to 5 billion people by 2050, and it could even leave 1 billion of them blind.
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