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People wearing glasses might be smarter than those who do not

By USA Today (TNS) - Jun 08,2018 - Last updated at Jun 08,2018

Photo courtesy of glass.uinvest.us

It stinks. You’re a tween or teen and you’re told that you have to wear glasses. Gone, you fret, is your chance of getting the guy or girl you’ve been eyeing (or squinting at) from afar.

That is the bad news. Here is the good: You are probably more intelligent than your frames-free competition.

Research published in the prestigious British journal Nature found that people who displayed higher levels of intelligence were almost 30 per cent more likely to wear glasses or need contact lenses.

In the study, the largest of its kind ever conducted, a team from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh looked at data from about 300,000 people and determined people with high cognitive performance (aka intelligence) were more likely to have poor eyesight.

The analysis, which was part of a broader study about inherited genes affecting general intelligence, found “significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function, reaction time, and many health variables including eyesight, hypertension, and longevity”.

In other words, you may be as blind as a bat, but you are more likely to be a healthy and intelligent one. The study also found that those with higher cognitive function also tended to have a decreased risk of specific types of cancer and healthier hearts.

For many, the link between eyesight and intelligence does not come as a surprise. And then there is the nerd factor.

For instance, as England’s The Guardian newspaper pointed out, some defence lawyers get their clients to wear glasses — often fake ones — at trials. As lawyer Harvey Slovis told New York magazine, “Glasses soften their appearance so that they don’t look capable of committing a crime. I’ve tried cases where there’s been a tremendous amount of evidence,” he continued, “but my client wore glasses and got acquitted. The glasses create a kind of unspoken nerd defence”.

But criminal or not, it is probably not wise to rush out and buy a pair of non-prescription spectacles. A 2010 Scientific American study cited by the website BigThink.com shows that fake glasses overwhelmingly tend to make wearers more dishonest. Ouch!

Meanwhile, style-bible GQ declared that wearing fake glasses or ditching longtime use of contact lenses in favour of a framed face — a trend among several celebrities — constitutes “bottom-of-the-barrel hipster behaviour” and “make you look like an adult Harry Potter impersonator”.

And so, fretful teenager, the tables have been turned.

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