Myopia confers protection from diabetes

The title isn’t clear. Here’s what I mean. If you have myopia, some studies show that you are less likely to get diabetes or you are less likely to have significant diabetic problems. With all the bad things that can happen because a patient has myopia, I can see how the good things might not be reported or seem important. Let me be clear though, having myopia doesn’t mean you won’t get diabetes. It just means you are less likely.

Myopia is also called nearsightedness. It’s not something I have but it’s the most common reason for patients to come to my office. They want glasses or contact lenses usually. That’s mainly why I have a job….people need optical correction to correct their vision. My job is also to check for eye diseases. Those with myopia are at a LITTLE greater risk of some problems and more so if the myopia is high (greater than -5.00). The other guys…the hyperopics (those that are farsighted) have their own¬†LITTLE¬†risks for certain conditions. The other common vision problem easily corrected is presbyopia and I don’t know of any diseases associated with that condition other than losing your reading glasses.

Let me clear up what I mean by risk. If you read a research article and it says the odds ratio for some condition is greater than 1.0, then the risk is higher. If the risk ratio is less than 1.0, then that person is less likely to have/develop the condition than the other group in the study. If the odds ratio is 2.0, then that means twice as many people with myopia will develop that problem than the other group in the study.

In one study I read, a highly myopic person was less likely to develop what’s called proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Let’s just say, you don’t want to have diabetes AND PDR, period. The odds ratio of having PDR for a younger high myopia person with diabetes was 0.40. That’s lower than 1.0 which means they are less likely of getting PDR. What’s interesting about this is that those with high myopia are at a greater risk for other kinds of retinal problems but in this case, they are at less risk of PDR. It might have something to do with the vascular differences the study said and the extent of a condition called posterior vitreous detachment.

There’s another odds risk for those that have myopia and the likelihood that they will even get diabetes. It was reported as 0.90. That’s less than 1.0. So myopics were less likely to get diabetes compared to the other nonmyopic group in the study.

I should tell you what those bad things are that are more likely to happen in a myopic patient though. The odds ratio varies around 2.0-3.0 for these conditions compared to those with no myopia:

retinal detachment


PSC cataract (that’s not the typical age-related kind of cataract)

macular disease

So, just come in and let me look or get your eyes checked wherever you are. You’re probably fine but you myopes do have a LITTLE greater chance of me finding something there that isn’t good.

I am getting (or have) the complete articles below if anyone wants them.

myopia example

myopia example


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