Myopia Statistically Linked with High IQ

Are people who wear glasses brainier?

It may be a mere stereotype, but scientific research confirms there is indeed a correlation between myopia (near sightedness) and higher intelligence.

This original 1958 finding has since been independently investigated by several studies performed in countries including the United States, Denmark, Singapore, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Israel (Grevers, 2013).

Researchers at the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany conducted a study where they examined nearsightedness in 4,658 Germans ages 35 to 74. This Gutenberg Health study concluded that myopia was more common amongst those with a higher education level.

Similarly, IQ tests and full physical exams of more than 150,000 subjects in Israel revealed that participants with the highest intelligence scores were three times as likely to have myopia as their peers (n.a., 1988).

What’s the underlying reason? In this digital age, the longtime belief was to blame close-up activities, like reading books and playing computer games, but new research indicates otherwise (Hughes, 2011).

Although genetic inheritance plays a role, the increasing rise of refractive error cases suggests that environmental factors, like a deficiency in sunlight, is the guilty cause (Zolfaharifard, 2014).

Data from the Sydney Myopia study of more than 4,000 Australian school children was analyzed by Kathryn Rose, a leading international researcher of visual disorders, to determine whether a lack of outdoor activities might lead to myopia. This Medical Doctor found that the lowest myopia rate was that of outdoorsy 12-year old children (n.a., 2008).

When these 4,000 children were exposed to the outdoors for 10-14 hours per week, this proved to be a preventative factor for myopia. However, a certain level of light and the duration of light exposure are required before light has its preventive effect (Hughes, 2011).

Animal experiments utilizing mice and monkeys also support this theory, researchers say (Park, 2012).

Compared to various countries, why is myopia sweeping through Asian countries at reported rates up to 90%? In a drastic contrast, the stats are less than half in the United States (40%) and less than 1/3 in the United Kingdom (20%-30%) (Park, 2012).

“Because many East Asian children [study more than other school children] and spend more and more time inside, a lot less exposure to sunlight which induces retinal dopamine which inhibits the growth of the eye ball thus inhibiting the development of myopia”, shares Dr. Sie, a retired General Internist and former Intensive Care Physician (Sie, 2015).

Dr. Ian Morgan shares: “Homework is being set in pre-school and children starting school receive around two hours of homework per day. This contrasts with the much more relaxed pace of education in Australia, where homework is virtually non-existent at pre-school and minimal in primary school, and where use of coaching schools is really only a feature of the later years of high school” (n.a., 2013).

To stop the epidemic of myopia, should we make a crucial effort to not adopt a hardcore tiger parent mentality of forcing our children to study for countless hours?  


American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2008, August 5). Outdoor Activity And Nearsightedness In Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 16, 2017 from

Are people with poor eyesight more intelligent? (2014, November 14). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://gurumagazine.org/askaguru/are-people-with-poor-eyesight-more-intelligent/

CBBC Newsround | SCI TECH | Clever kids ‘have worse eyesight’ (2004, July 22). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/sci_tech/newsid_3916000/3916325.stm

Czepita, D., Lodygowska, E., & Czepita, M. (2008). Are children with myopia more intelligent? A literature review. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19127804

Dean, C. (1988, December 19). Study Links Intelligence And Myopia. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/20/science/study-links-intelligence-and-myopia.html

Fighting for Equity in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.saveourschools.com.au/national-issues/high-myopia-prevalence-in-east-asia-linked-to-after-school-tutoring

H. (2012, December 28). Are People Who Wear Glasses Smarter or More Intelligent? Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://www.hivehealthmedia.com/focus-spectacles-intelligence/

Hughes, G., & Chiou, P. (2011, June 01). New research an eye opener on cause of myopia. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/01/myopia.causes/index.html

Myopia, High Iq Statistically Linked. (1988, October 29). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1988-10-29/features/8803030506_1_myopia-highest-intelligence-scores-eye-strain

Park, A. (2012, May 7). Why Up to 90% of Asian Schoolchildren Are Nearsighted | TIME.com. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/07/why-up-to-90-of-asian-schoolchildren-are-nearsighted/

Zolfagharifard, E. (2014, July 01). Wear glasses? Then you’re probably SMART: Educated people are more likely to suffer from sight problems, claims study. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2676252/Wear-glasses-Then-youre-probably-SMART-Educated-people-likely-suffer-sight-problems-claims-study.html#ixzz4VsvaTdwQ

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  1. I believe that this research are right to point out a correlation between myopia and intelligence, but incorrect in assuming that the physical deficiency has some causal relationship with intelligence. It is my theory, that in fact the mere act of placing something on the face, glasses in this instance, makes a human being more introspective. My theory is based upon the observation that when you search through popular culture artifacts such as historic accounts, pictures, stories, symbols, sculptures, paintings etc for references to thinking, there is always an object, most usually a hand, but sometimes a pencil in the mouth, ear phones on the head, a hat pulled down close over the eyes, glasses, or simply the classic hand on forehead (The Thinker). It is my belief that this physical closing off of the space around the eyes allows our focus to turn inward. It allows us to be more introspective and contemplative, and thus enables us to solve more complex problems. Hence, individuals with myopia, are in a constant state of introspection, for as long as they wear their glasses. Furthermore, I believe this introspective advantage, compounds over time to build deeper understanding on a range of broad topics, thus improving the intelligence as classically measured over time. Furthermore, I believe the advantage can be gained by anybody on a short term basis by wearing non-magnifying glasses. Also, I believe that any object placed close to the face or head can help. It is possible that headphones, hats, sunglasses, etc are all effective.

    As you contemplate the validity of my hypothesis, are you touching your face or are you already wearing glasses or headphones? Try to do some complex math in your head. Is your first inclination to reach up and touch your lip and nose, or to rest your hand on your forehead?

    To test this theory I propose a series of tests. In one I propose testing individuals with myopia wearing contacts against individuals wearing glasses. It is my theory that contacts do NOT provide the introspective advantage that glasses do.

    Secondly, I propose testing normal sighted people wearing non magnifying glasses while taking a test, and comparing their results with normal sighted people taking the test without glasses.

    Thirdly, I propose normal sighted individuals taking two similar tests, back to back, or one longer test in two parts. One part of the test would be taken with glasses, and one without.

    I believe the evidence is overwhelming that humans innately require, for some unknown reason, a physical closing off of the space around head, eyes, mouth or nose, to contemplate more deeply an internal thought such as a complex math problem, a riddle, a mystery, the answer to a crossword puzzle, or simply trying to remember a doctor’s appointment. Furthermore, I believe that since myopic individuals tend to wear glasses for an extended period of time throughout the day and over many years that they gradually improve their baseline IQ score over time as a consequence of the introspective advantage of wearing glasses.

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Written by Chrissy

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When asked to describe this California native, her friends utilize the following: sweetly thoughtful, highly ambitious and (embarrassingly) quirky.

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Myopia Statistically Linked with High IQ