Table 1

Hypotheses about aetiology of myopia

Year ADAetiologyFirst author*References
400 BC 160Not enough ‘pneuma’ in the eye or ‘pneuma’ coming from the eye not strong enough to penetrate the airPlato, Galen 7
350 BCWater content of eye too highAristotle 4
1583Near work or fine script reading, insufficient lightingBartisch 12 29 30 35 36 38 42 45
1611Excessive bulging lensMaurolycus 28
1703Excessive convexity of eye ballHuygens 32
1720Axial elongation, for example, due to infections or tumour compressionBoerhaave 34 45
1720Excessive corneal curvatureBoerhaave 34
1801SmokingHimly 37
1813Use of concave glassesWare 3 43
1813Higher social class/educationWare 3
1813Loss of orbital fat leading to oval eyeWare 3
1817Unusual vital eye turgor (congestion of the head, in pregnancy, during delivery or due to obstipation)Beer 12 38
1817High density of ocular mediaBeer 38
1817Oblique muscle over actionBeer 38
1817Unusual acquired pupillary dilatationBeer 38
1817Congenital faulty eyeball formationBeer 38
1826Monocular concave glass creates myopia in second eyeWeller 40
1830Brown hairWalther 39
1830HeredityWalther 39 42 45
1832Spasm of extraocular musclesArnold 41
1845Convergent squint due to overactive internal rectus muscleRuete 44
1848External eye muscle neurosisSzokalski 64
1850Myopia in distans. Involuntary accommodationFronmüller 65
1854Posterior choroidoscleritis; chronic inflammationVon Graefe 33
1855Change in vitreous refractive powerVon Graefe 46
1856Vitreous liquefactionArlt 45
1856Accommodation errorArlt 45
1856Opacities in ocular mediaArlt 33 45
1860Elevated intraocular pressure due to pressure of extraocular muscles on convergenceDonders 12
1883>−9.00D in low class women without near workTscherning 13
1905Congenital defective development of scleral elastic fibresLange 66
  • *Only the author who seems to have mentioned a theory for the first time has been named. Under references, later authors with similar views are added.