Cool Asian Eye Facts

Why do so many Asians wear eyeglasses?

Most Asians are nearsighted (myopic), meaning their distance vision is blurry, and for people with high nearsightedness this can also affect their near vision.  In Asian countries such as China and Singapore, studies show rates of myopia can be as high as 80% in each country’s population.  The cause of nearsightedness is multi-factorial, but can be due to a lot of near work (computer and reading) as well as genetics.  It has nothing to do with the size or the narrow appearance of the eyes.

Why are Asian eyes slanted?

“Asians don’t actually have slanted eyes, —that’s an optical illusion, as it were.  Folks from Asia actually have an extra fold in their eyelids called the epicanthic fold. It’s at the top of the eyelid and is elongated, sometimes extending beyond the eyelashes. Caucasian or African eyes have a slight, shortened fold where the epicanthic fold would be.
Evolutionary biologists believe there’s a good reason for this difference in eye structure. During the last ice age, when Asians were trapped in the frozen tundra of Siberia, large, round eyes with thin-skinned eyelids were an obstacle to survival in that they were more likely to be damaged by the cold.
Round-eyed people tended to not survive as well as those with an elongated fold of fatty tissue that insulated the eyeball and inner lids and who therefore had less direct exposure to the cold air.
Another survival characteristic that they developed was flatter noses, big protruding Caucasian noses would be vulnerable to frostbite in such conditions.”

Why are Asian eyes usually brown?

Eye color is an inherited trait.  Brown eyes are dominant over other eye colors and also absorb the most light.  This was another genetic trait picked up during the ice age to keep eyeballs from freezing!

Will my eyesight worsen if I need glasses but don't wear them?

For most people, needing glasses does not mean they have an eye disease, and there is no need to be concerned about the possibility of your vision worsening.  That being said, every person should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor on a regular basis, and follow their eye doctor’s instructions.  The bigger danger is what you might do when your vision is so poor (i.e. confuse your cell phone with the TV remote or try to put on dress shoes to go to the gym)