London researchers have recently found that short-sightedness appears to be on the rise throughout Europe. The study finds that nearly half of all Europeans in their mid-to-late twenties need glasses to correct their myopia. That’s about twice the figure for the general population, although in the UK near-sightedness affects one-third of all residents.
Predictably, this situation has been blamed on the increase in the amount of time spent looking at computers and other illuminated devices. Since that’s something that’s not easily avoided, one might conclude its effects are simply a fact of life in the 21st century. We may soon find that throughout Europe and especially in places with many urban professionals like London, glasses are simply more common than they used to be.
While that could spell trouble for Londoners’ vision late in life, there would be some silver linings to a majority near-sighted population. And we’re not just saying that because it would be good for our business as optometrists and sellers of glasses and contacts in London.
For one thing, the growth of near-sightedness among the youth likely means that wearing glasses will cease to be perceived as a marker of age, especially if you continue to wear the best designer glasses in London when you’re past the age of 40.
And there will be greater cause to do so, because designer glasses in London and other affluent urban centres will be a more recognizable status symbol, or at least an opportunity to show off your personal taste to a group of people who will really notice the difference between you and your near-sighted neighbours.
On a similar note, the rise of near-sightedness will actually give credence to a long-held misconception that glasses are a sign of intelligence. In the 21st century that may no longer be a misconception. Research shows that the near-sighted population may be growing even faster among those who have had higher education.
So don’t despair at London’s and Europe’s slightly worsening eyesight. Wear your glasses proudly in the company of all those young professionals who will be wearing their own.