A new study found that the older child in a family is more likely to suffer from nearsightedness than his younger siblings.
Stereotypes usually say that the oldest child in a family is much more organized and ambitious than his/her younger siblings. And some studies even had shown strong evidence to support that idea.
A recent study, which was studied this week in the journal JAMA Ophtalmology used data from more than 90,000 people of adult age. The team in charge with the research combined behavioral information from the participants, such as how much time they spend outdoors, with demographic data, educational history, and their eye condition and ophtalmological events.
The lead author of the study, Jeremy Guggenheim, professor at the Cardiff University, found that those who are firstborns have a greater chance of develop nearsightedness, while even more of them are likely to be affected by severe nearsightedness. Guggenheim took into consideration a lot of factors, but this one particularly striking. He and his colleagues found that younger siblings were less likely to show signs of nearsightedness, and when they had it, their nearsightedness was not nearly as strong as in their older siblings.
Nearsightedness is more and more common among the countries with the fastest economical development, such as China, South Korea, and Indonesia. The rates of childhood nearsightedness have reached a new peak in terms of escalation in the last couple of decades all across the world.
By taking the Asian countries as an example, the authors believe that nearsightedness can be the result of an educational overdose. Another recent study has shown that most parents are more likely to invest into the educational development of their firstborn child than in that of their second and third children.
Guggenheim explains that is a natural instinct from parents to provide the best education for their first child. Also, in modern cultural settings, schools give access to many other tools that could boost up a child’s intelligence, such as books, electronic devices, chalkboards. All of these tools involve the children’s eyesight.
Other explanation would be that firstborns are more likely to inherit nearsightedness from their parents. But that assumption has not been verified yet.
Guggenheim’s opinion is that children who spend more time in educational settings are less likely to spend time outdoors, and that all the tasks they do in their schools stresses their eyes.
A recent study from China suggested that nearsightedness rates dropped when the participants spend more than 40 minutes a day outside, doing various activities.
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