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Reading Books, Nearsightedness, and Nerdiness

Fri, Mar 23, 2001 11:39PM -0600

Frighteningly, there actually is a biological process that explains the correlation between bookishness and wearing glasses. (The rest of the chain of events that cements one's social standing as a nerd is a conjectural adventure into psychology which I would rather not take...)

Apparently, insufficient light to the retina will cause your retina to grow, thereby causing it to elongate, thereby causing myopia (i.e., nearsightedness) This was determined by a rather gruesome experiment where monkeys had their eyelids sown shut--their retinas (retinae?) grew immensely. What some people postulate is that activities of modern civilization (such as learning how to read at a young age) also deprive the retina of light. Hence, if you were into reading when you were younger, it wouldn't be surprising if you turned out nearsighted.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily disprove the theory about watching TV too closely causing nearsightedness. While the omnipresent boob tube does send multitudes of photons hurtling onto your retina, it is nowhere near as bright as sunlight.

So if you have a child under the age of 8 (or something like that...I forget when the visual system stops being plastic...), MAKE HIM/HER GO OUTSIDE!!!

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