Myopia and Month of Birth

Recently a researcher out of Tel Aviv University’s Goldschleger Eye Research Institute studied 300,000 children, examining the association of nearsightedness with thier month of birth.

They found that those born in June or July have a 24 per cent greater chance of becoming severely myopic(> -6.00), than those born in December or January.

“Such findings might suggest that the amount of light exposure generates a biological signal that can influence the emmetropization process [the stage of life when the length of the eye and its focal ability are balanced out],” the study’s author said.

The authors stress that myopia can be caused by other factors — such as genetics —and that only 2.2 per cent to 5.6 per cent of severe myopia can be attributed to the season of birth or perinatal light.

So what does this mean to me – well I was born in May and I am only mildy myopic (-1.75).  A quick mental poll of our staff and we have only one staff who was born in June & July and interestingly she is over -6.00.

So what should you do?  The theory is that it is the increased amount of light in the summer months that may stimulate the development of severe myopia in 5% of the population.  So I would recommend ensuring your summer newborn has adequate protection(sunglasses, hats, shade) from bright sun in those first few months.

Michael D. Nelson, OD