Myopia and Culture

9 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022

Date Written: August 19, 2021


School myopia has developed along with our modern culture. Recent research has confirmed old ideas that myopia development was related to reading habits (Morgan et al., 2021). Both defocus and contrast issues of black letters under white background are probably related to the myopiagenic effect of long periods of reading (Aleman et al., 2018; Gwiazda et al., 1993). Besides, the change from a rural life mainly outdoors, to living indoors with artificial lighting, was directly related to the industrial revolution and modern culture. Furthermore, research has shown that this lack of outdoor exposure also produces myopia in school children (French et al., 2013). Two hundred years ago myopia was not common, but now it arises as a pandemic that may pose a heavy burden of vision impairment in the next generation (Holden et al., 2014). The environment in which children live has changed dramatically, with compulsory education in the late 20th century; this type of education and the architecture of windowless schools with artificial lights are probably the root of the recent myopia epidemics (Hobday, 2016). This perspective reviews the main aspects of how modern culture has developed with an increased prevalence of myopia in Inuits, Europeans and Chinese in the last 60 years, and proposes a different development for cultures in the rest of the world.

Keywords: myopia, education, outdoors, environmental health.

Suggested Citation

Iribarren, Rafael, Myopia and Culture (August 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Rafael Iribarren (Contact Author)

Drs. Iribarren Eye Consultants ( email )


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