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Not Just All the Reading in the Library

Smarter people may really tend to have worse eyesight, according to a new genetic study.

Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh's Ian Deary sifted through cognitive and genetic data from the CHARGE and COGENT consortia and the UK Biobank. As they report in Nature Communications this week, they uncovered a genetic link between cognitive function and a number of health factors, including eyesight.

In particular, they uncovered 148 independent genetic loci that were associated with general cognitive function. After creating polygenic profile scores for general cognitive function, they then tested for genetic correlations between general cognitive function and 52 health-related traits in a separate cohort. Deary and his team found that smarter people were about 30 percent more likely to need glasses.

"This study, the largest genetic study of cognitive function, has identified many genetic differences that contribute to the heritability of thinking skills," co-author Gail Davies from Edinburgh tells the Independent. The researchers also reported that other health factors like hypertension and longevity were linked to cognitive function.

The Guardian adds that, even without genetics, there's ample evidence that just wearing glasses will make others think you are smart.