Myopia and Education

So, “the downside” to being “highly educated” is that “it can make you short-sighted”? That’s a pretty bad downside!

Myopia and Education

By Charlotte Schuman

“Being highly educated can make you short-sighted…”

Really?! Oh… so that’s why I always looked so fabulously intellectual and educated when I wore glasses….!

(Actually, I looked a lot like Nana Mouskouri (sorry Nana!) and that’s why I decided to try the Bates Method).

After a couple of false starts and half-hearted attempts to improve my vision with a few lessons, it was several years later that I managed to improve my vision all by myself over a matter of weeks, with the help of Bates’ book: Better Eyesight without Glasses - Eureka! Wow!

All of a sudden, I could see people’s faces again as I walked down the street; I could see sunlight sparkling off the parked cars, and going out at night without glasses was no longer so, well…dark and blurry! And yet - I was still “highly educated”.

This sudden return to clarity was such a revelation to me that I decided to train to teach the Bates Method, so that I could help others who might also be wandering in the dark, so to speak, as I had been doing, for ten long myopic years. That was twelve years ago, and I have since established a busy practice as a teacher of this extraordinary and still absolutely revolutionary method of eyesight improvement.

This week (23rd June 2018), The Week published an article in its Health & Science pages explaining that “the downside” to being “highly educated” is that “it can make you short-sighted”. That’s a pretty bad downside! (And if, as I was  very averse to looking like Nana Mouskouri, I’d known this before I registered at the University of Auckland all those years ago, I would have taken an about turn, and got a job down the road instead! Who wants a degree if it means glasses? I was far too vain for that.)

But as it happened, I didn’t know this dubious detail and I actually didn’t start to become short-sighted until I’d finished my studies and was working abroad.

That’s the thing: it’s not just about being “highly educated”; many of my clients, found, as I did, that their vision first deteriorated while working in an office, in a “real” job.

So what aspects of studying for an education in school or at a tertiary institution, or working in an office job have in common?

And, is it possible to be “highly educated” or office bound, and still have good vision?

The answer, and it’s an encouraging one, I’m pleased to say, is YES!

But how? As the scientists so brilliantly deduced (perhaps they could have referred to Bates’ findings, to save themselves the time taken to carry out all of those complicated experiments), is that “spending a long time in the classroom” or spending a lot of time in an office, necessarily means that you are spending less time outdoors, and thus are missing out on valuable natural light.

Natural light is essential for stimulating the rods and cones in the macula, at the back of the eye. These rods and cones are responsible for colour definition, seeing in the dark, and general clarity, so they’re vital for seeing clearly. The rods and cones absolutely thrive (I always imagine them as little minions of some kind, partying in abandoned enthusiasm), on the contrasts between light and dark which we get when we’re outdoors in natural daylight. That’s also why our odd human habit of wearing sunglasses (do cats, dogs, cows or sheep wear sunglasses?) is generally very unhelpful, as it hinders the light coming into the visual system, and so often leads to light sensitivity. (Maybe the highly educated wear sunglasses a lot too..?!)

Anyway! The fact is that the eyes need natural light to function well over the long term, so if you’re spending a lot of time studying or working indoors, try to take as many breaks as you can outdoors in natural light, and go outdoors as much as possible on weekends and evenings in your spare time.

There is also another, totally avoidable factor which can lead to vision problems such as myopia, and which is related to spending long hours indoors studying or working - and that’s the topic of my next blog!

In the meantime - slap on a hat, put away the shades, (bought with cash you probably earned indoors), and embrace the sunlight - your eyes will thank you for it.

Till next time…!


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