Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is becoming increasingly common. In just two decades the proportion of Americans who are nearsighted has increased by 11% to include about 36% of the population.
A new study published in Ophthalmology reveals a possible connection between early life and the development of myopia. Several factors were found to contribute to the development of nearsightedness:
- the age of the mother at birth (rates of myopia in children increase when moms are over 35);
- birth weight (tinier babies are more likely to eventually develop myopia); and
- maternal smoking in early pregnancy (children of moms who smoked are twice as likely to develop severe myopia).
The study authors also note that kids who do lots of close work (including reading) at a young age are much more likely to become nearsighted.