Nav: Home

161 genetic factors for myopia identified

June 14, 2018

The international Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM) recently published the worldwide largest genetic study of myopia in Nature Genetics. Researchers from the Gutenberg Health Study at the Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz participated in this study, which identified 161 genetic factors for myopia. This quadruples the number of known genetic risk factors playing a role in all retinal cell types. Most of them are involved in processing light. This supports the assumption that insufficient sunlight is an important trigger in the development of myopia.

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is the most common disorder affecting the eyesight and it is on the increase. This is particularly worrying for severely short-sighted people as it increases their risk of developing eyesight complications. The causes are both genetic and environmental.

The international research group CREAM, which includes scientists from the Gutenberg Health Study of the Mainz University Medical Center, has now made important progress towards understanding the mechanisms behind the development of the condition. They evaluated the data of more than 250,000 people from Europe, Asia, and North America in cooperation with gene test provider 23andme.

The study established 161 genetic factors for spherical equivalent and myopia, most of which were previously unknown. It became clear that all retinal cell types play a role in the development of myopia alongside their primary role as light processors. This supports the theory that the internal layer of the eye communicates with the external layer to increase the length of the eye, which is a decisive factor in the development of myopia.

"We have known for some time that education-related behavior is a major environmental factor in developing short-sightedness", said co-author Professor Norbert Pfeiffer, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Mainz University Medical Center. It was unclear which role close-up work during reading plays in the process, or if lack of sunlight is responsible. The new results provide important insights into the underlying biological mechanisms. They also support the most important advice Pfeiffer can give to concerned parents as a preventive measure against myopia: "Send your kids to play outside for two hours every day. And it's not just their eyes that will benefit."

The spread of short-sightedness is a worldwide phenomenon, particularly in South East Asia, where the incidence of myopia in school children has increased notably over the last decades. This is likely due to rising levels of education. People who read a great deal also perform a lot of close-up work, usually in poor levels of daylight. The eye adjusts to these visual habits and the eyeball becomes more elongated than normal as a result. But if it becomes too elongated, the cornea and lens focus the image just in front of the retina instead of on it, making distant objects appear blurry.
-end-


Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

Related Myopia Articles:

Faster, cheaper tests for myopia possible
The world's most common vision problem myopia or short/near sightedness, which causes damage to the eye and even blindness, just got easier to assess.
New approach to slowing nearsightedness in children shows promise
Combining 2 different treatment methods to slow the progression of myopia may deliver better results than either can achieve on their own.
Bright lights outdoors may help treat lazy eye in children
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a loss of vision that affects two to five percent of children across the world and originates from a deficit in visual cortical circuitry.
US $244 billion lost annually because people don't have spectacles to correct myopia
Vision impairment caused by uncorrected myopia cost the global economy an estimated US$244 billion in lost productivity in 2015, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Ophthalmology.
Study shows how light therapy might help premature babies avoid vision problems
Scientists discovered a light-dependent molecular pathway that regulates how blood vessels develop in the eye.
Summer birth and computer games linked to heightened short-sight risk in childhood
Summer birth and hours spent playing computer games are linked to a heightened risk of developing short or near sightedness (myopia) in childhood, indicates a twin study, published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Neural nets to interpret chest X-rays; a random forest model to predict severe nearsightedness
This week, PLOS Medicine launches our Special Issue on Machine Learning in Health and Biomedicine, Guest Edited by Atul Butte of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF, Suchi Saria of the Department of Computer Science, Statistics, and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, and Aziz Sheikh of the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh.
Gene changes driving myopia reveal new focus for drug development
Myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) develop through different molecular pathways, according to a new study publishing Oct.
Four-year study: Pioneering contact lens approach slows myopia progression in children
New four-year study data shows the significant impact of a pioneering contact lens management approach to slowing the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in children, including those whose treatment begins later.
High rate of nearsightedness among children in China
Nearsightedness (myopia) is a leading cause of visual impairment worldwide.
More Myopia News and Myopia Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.