Washington, March 26 : Melbourne University researchers say that they have found evidence by conducting a research into myopia or shortsightedness - an eye condition which renders one unable to see distant things clearly - that people who wear glasses are not stereotypical geeks or nerds.
"We have literally busted the myth that people who wear glasses are introverted or have particular personality characteristics. They are more likely to be agreeable and open, rather than closed and introverted," said A/Prof Paul Baird of the University of Melbourne's Centre for Eye Research Australia.
The researchers, who say that shortsightedness affects about one in four Australians, insist that theirs is the world's biggest study into factors linked to the condition.
In the study, which took more than four years to complete, the researchers involved 633 twins and a comparative group of 278 family members. They used the University's Australian Twin Registry for the purpose.
The study participants were analysed using a state-of-the-art measure of the five major personality factors administered by psychologists from the university - viz. openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
The researchers observed that comparison of family members and twins did not show any link between myopia and introversion, though there was a significant but small association with myopia and agreeableness.
"Working together we have been able to generate more comprehensive and consistent results than previously obtained regarding personality and myopia, "said Nick Haslam from the School of Behavioural Science at the University of Melbourne.
The researchers say that their findings have important social and preventative implications.
"Good eye care is really important but unfortunately there are not always good associations with wearing glasses," says Baird.
"This shows that people, particularly children, should not avoid or delay wearing glasses due to preconceived ideas about what it would imply about their personalities," adds Baird.
The personality focus provides a key element in a series of studies to identify factors involved in myopia. The other elements investigated were environmental and genetic factors.
The study has been published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.