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By the Numbers: Myopia's Bookish Ways

By Sarah C GreeneOctober 1, 2001 5:00 AM


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New data confirm an old stereotype: Nerds wear glasses. In a recent study of 429 Singaporean military conscripts, myopia (nearsightedness) correlated with every form of advanced education, including university classes, high school gifted programs, and advanced tutoring. Singapore requires all young males to serve in the armed forces, so the sample was unusually broad. Some scientists theorize that people strain their eyes reading at close range, but the evidence linking this to myopia is meager. Others argue that myopia has a strong hereditary component, but this explanation assumes a genetic link between vision and intelligence. For now, suggestions of cause and effect remain little more than fuzzy speculation.

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