Many people I know consider bespectacled individuals to be smarter than the average normal sighted person.

Is there any scientific basis to this belief?

  • 1
    I think the claim is notable: but is it well-defined or precise? What does "be smarter" mean? I've heard that glasses make you look "bookish", perhaps even "professorial": are those the same thing as "smarter"?
    – ChrisW
    Mar 17, 2012 at 16:47
  • Also, what age are these individuals: young, middle-aged, old: does that make any difference to the question or the answer? I'm beginning to see why questions are supposed to include a specific quote, made by a specific somebody in a certain context.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 17, 2012 at 16:50
  • Over the past few years, as former Texas governor tried to improve the impression of himself as having more intellectual heft, he made it a point to wear glasses, the black-framed, "nerdier" looking ones. I'd find myself yelling at the TV when he'd speak "your smart-glasses aren't working!!" Oct 10, 2016 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


There is a correlation between IQ and myopia (near-sightedness). I believe Arthur Jensen was the first to explore the link. Here is a newer open-source article on the topic, though there are many more. The correlation also holds within families, and is apparently not related to reading books:

After controlling for age, gender, school, parental myopia, father’s education, and books read per week, myopia (spherical equivalent [SE]) of at least −0.5 D was associated with high nonverbal IQ (highest quartile) versus low IQ (lowest quartile) (odds ratio = 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.7–3.4). Controlling for the same factors, children with higher nonverbal IQ scores had significantly more myopic refractions (−1.86 D for children with nonverbal IQ in the highest quartile compared with −1.24 D for children with nonverbal IQ in the lowest quartile; P = 0.002) and longer axial lengths (24.06 mm versus 23.80 mm; P = 0.022). Nonverbal IQ accounted for a greater proportion of the variance in refraction compared with books read per week.

If you want to read up on this further, a lot of hits will come up if you make a search for intelligence, myopia and pleiotropy.

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