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Children born during the summer have higher myopia risk

Playing computer games boosts risk of short-sightedness, while fertility treatment has a protective effect

A child wearing spectacles

Researchers have examined what lifestyle factors influence the development of myopia.

Reporting their results in the British Journal of Ophthalmologyscientists highlight that a high level of maternal education, a summer birth and playing computer games is associated with a higher risk of developing myopia, while fertility treatment has a protective effect.

The research involved analysis of the UK-based Twins Early Development Study group involving 1991 twins recruited at birth between 1994 and 1996.

A subjective refraction was obtained from the twin’s optometrists, with an average age of 16.3 years.

The children of mothers who were highly educated were 33% more likely to become shortsighted while those born in summer had an almost two times (93%) greater risk of becoming myopic.

There was also a slight increase (3%) in risk among children who played computer games.

The children of mothers who had fertility treatment were 37% less likely to develop myopia.

The authors concluded: “Given the rise in myopia prevalence, likely due to changing environmental pressures in childhood, further studies of this and other cohorts are warranted, in conjunction with genetic data, to continue efforts to produce predictive models that can ascertain who should be targeted for treatments to reduce the future burden of this condition.”