The Wisdom of the Body

Last month we blogged about reasons why -1.50 may be the new plano from an adaptive point of view.  There are always risks when one considers the effort to totally eradicate a process that may be at least partially adaptive in nature, and this may prove to be the case with myopia.  Adaptive processes may reflect the wisdom of the body, a term used similarly in book titles by physiologist Walter Cannon in popularizing the stress response and by surgeon-author-philosopher Sherwin Nuland in probing human nature.


Central serous retinopathy (CSR) is an enigmatic condition in which fluid accumulates in the peri-macular region, and it has been postulated that the condition is exacerbated – or perhaps even caused by stress.  What if there were evidence that the refractive status of myopia is inversely correlated with CSR?  One might then have reason to believe that the same visual condition that is an outcome of stress might have some protective effect against the ravages of stress, at least at the ocular level.  A recent article in the International Journal of Ophthalmology opens the door to this possibility.

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In future research it would be helpful to look at the amounts of myopia as correlated with CSR, not just its presence or absence.  It might be even more revealing to look at myopic anisometropia, where an individual serves as his or her own control.   In any event, this may be another caveat in “waging war against myopia” at least regarding a target value for myopia reduction or control.  If myopia were to eradicated, by whatever means, we may find that there are diseases against which healthy amounts of adaptive myopia were protective that now come to the surface.  Low amounts of adaptive myopia might therefore be indicative of the wisdom of the body.

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