The possibility that nutritional variations, protein, fat, and cholesterol intakes may be related to myopia was first proposed by P.A. Gardiner in 1956. He analysed the diets of 33 active myopes versus 251 sedentary myopes and revealed that the former consumed more protein and less fat and carbohydrate. The author subsequently attempted to slow myopia progression by increasing protein intake, with apparently positive results.
In 1996, MH Edwards compared the diets of 24 children who developed myopia between the ages of 7 and 10 and 68 children who were still not myopic at the age of 10. The former group had a generally lower intake of many of the food components than the latter. The differences were statistically significant for energy intake, protein, fat, vitamins B1, B2 and C, phosphorus, iron, and cholesterol. A study conducted in 2002 proposed that hyperinsulinemic diets contribute to myopic axial elongation through perturbations in the retinoid receptor pathway.
More recently, a cross-sectional study with 851 Singapore Chinese schoolchildren published in 2010 concluded that higher saturated fat and cholesterol intake are associated with longer axial length in otherwise healthy Singapore Chinese schoolchildren.