An editorial from
The New York TimesIt's no news to connoisseurs of high school yearbooks that the myopic are apt to get more A's on their report cards than those who can spot a flea on a mouse. To look at the pictures of the class valedictorian and salutatorian is to see, most likely, two kids peering out at the world through horn rims.
Contrary to legend, however, their nearsightedness may have nothing to do with their affinity for books. Researchers at the Danish Institute of Myopia Research suggest that intelligent adolescents who are nearsighted were probably the kind of babies involved in "visual exploration of the near environment" from birth. In other words, they took an intense interest in their fingers, toes, undershirts and whatever was coming at them on a spoon. The eagerness to use their eyes so early may have been more responsible for eye damage than gobbling up books in later life.
Should the Danes be correct, parents of kids who spend the night under the sheet with a book and a blanket will have to give up their favorite warning, "You're ruining your eyes!" The time to yell is infancy, and the offending text is more likely to be the infant's thumb.