Study Suggests Environmental Factors May Outweigh Genetics When It Comes to Myopia

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Carlsbad ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Tracy comments on study suggesting that higher education and more years of schooling correlate with a higher degree of nearsightedness.

San Diego ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Tracy

Dr. Michael Tracy, Carlsbad Eye Care

We often don’t realize the importance of general eye care. Keeping your eyes healthy and recognizing when there might be a problem are key to preserving good vision.

According to a recent study by The Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, environmental factors may outweigh genetics in the development and severity of myopia. It is estimated that about 42 percent of the world’s population is nearsighted, and this study provides valuable insight as to why this may be.

“This is an important finding in the field of ophthalmology,” says Dr. Michael Tracy, an ophthalmologist in Carlsbad. “Not only are we finding better ways to treat ophthalmological conditions, but now we may have ways to prevent it as we learn more about the correlation of environmental factors and nearsightedness.”    

The researchers in the study also found that people who spent more years in school tended to be more myopic, with their nearsightedness worsening for each year of school that was completed. Even when the researchers looked at 45 genetic markers, genetics were still found to be a weaker factor in nearsightedness compared to the level of education completed.

“We often don’t realize the importance of general eye care,” says Dr. Tracy. “Keeping your eyes healthy and recognizing when there might be a problem are key to preserving good vision.”

The study suggests that more time spent outdoors may be the simple solution to the problem. More time spent outdoors is correlated with lessened nearsightedness, so students and others who are at risk for developing myopia should consider spending more time outside to help preserve their vision.

“This study gives important new insight on eyesight preservation and environmental factors,” says Dr. Tracy. “At Carlsbad Eye Care, my goal is to help patients achieve better vision so that they can live better lives. With these new findings we can continue to promote healthy eyes and good vision.”

Dr. Michael Tracy is a Board-certified ophthalmologist. He completed his residency training in Ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship in Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. In his private practice at Carlsbad Eye Care, Dr. Tracy uses his expertise and knowledge to provide patients with better vision and healthy eyes in San Diego.

To contact Carlsbad Eye Care, please visit or call (760) 603-9910.

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