First-born prone to short-sight­ed­ness

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

FIRST-BORN chil­dren have a 10% greater risk of de­vel­op­ing my­opia com­pared to their sib­lings, ac­cord­ing to re­search un­der­taken in Wales. The re­searchers point to a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion with parental in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion.

My­opia in chil­dren is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly preva­lent in most coun­tries and is prov­ing to be a ma­jor chal­lenge in pub­lic health terms.

While cer­tain fac­tors have been iden­ti­fied as trig­gers for this con­di­tion, such as ge­net­ics and the amount of time spent out­doors and in­doors, a new study high­lights a link be­tween my­opia and birth or­der.

Re­searchers at Cardiff Univer­sity in Wales un­der­took a study us­ing data from the UK Biobank data­base in­volv­ing 89,000 par­tic­i­pants aged be­tween 40 and 69.

None of them had had a fam­ily history of my­opia, thereby re­mov­ing any ge­netic fac­tor which could af­fect their sight.

The re­searchers com­pared the par­tic­i­pants’ vi­sion as­sess­ment and their risk of my­opia by study­ing their birth or­der in the fam­ily.

Their find­ings, which were pub­lished in the re­cent edi­tion of the jour­nal JAMA Oph­thal­mol­ogy in­di­cated that com­pared to their last-born and younger sib­lings, first-born chil­dren had a 10% greater risk of be­com­ing short-sighted and a 20% greater risk of de­vel­op­ing a se­vere form of my­opia.

Greater parental in­vest­ment and the in­creased in­flu­ence of ed­u­ca­tional cri­te­ria in the early child­hood of first-born chil­dren could mean they are more ex­posed to fac­tors trig­ger­ing my­opia, say the re­searchers.

The more study­ing that first-born chil­dren do com­pared to their sib­lings, the greater the dif­fer­ence in sight be­tween them, re­ports the study which points to the role of parental in­vest­ment in chil­dren’s school life, par­tic­u­larly first-born chil­dren, as a po­ten­tial ex­pla­na­tion for this phe­nom­e­non.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that my­opia is ac­cen­tu­ated by in­tense read­ing, writ­ing, and work­ing at screens at school, univer­sity and in pro­fes­sional life. – AFP-Relaxnews

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