Nearsightedness is a leading contributor to irreversible visual impairment in the elderly due to its links to numerous eye conditions. Nearsightedness is a common childhood condition that is thought to be brought on by genetics, a lack of outdoor activity, and extensive schooling.
In a recent study, scientists discovered five genetic variations that increase the risk of children developing nearsightedness as they age.
A team from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom led by Jeremy Guggenheim published their results in the open-access journal PLOS Genetics.
Nearsightedness is a leading contributor to irreversible visual impairment in the elderly due to its links to numerous eye conditions. Nearsightedness is a common childhood condition that is thought to be brought on by genetics, a lack of outdoor activity, and extensive schooling. Studies have found a connection between more than 450 genetic variants and a higher incidence of nearsightedness.
Few, however, have been demonstrated to specifically increase risk in people with relevant lifestyle characteristics.
More than 340,000 people with European heritage provided genetic and health data for the new study, which was conducted. They conducted a genome-wide analysis to find genetic variations that, in combination with rigorous academic training, increase a person’s risk of developing nearsightedness.
The study found five genetic variations that, the longer people stayed in school, especially those who had graduated from college, gradually increased their likelihood of developing nearsightedness. Two of these polymorphisms were discovered in studies of East Asian cohorts, where nearly 80% of children develop nearsightedness, whereas three of these variants were previously unknown. For example, in the West, nearsightedness affects 30% of youngsters. The findings, according to the researchers, offer fresh insights into the biological processes that underlie nearsightedness, but further study is required to comprehend how those processes combine with dietary and lifestyle choices to produce the disease.
Guggenheim continued: “Myopia, which necessitates the use of spectacles or contact lenses, is a major contributor to irreversible vision impairment. The new study adds to our prior work between education and myopia by identifying 5 genes linked to the development of myopia whose effects are exacerbated by more years of schooling.”