The most notorious common eye disease in the world is nearsightedness – also known as myopia. If the cornea of the eye is too curved, light will be unable to focus correctly.
Of the millions of people diagnosed, it is common knowledge that contact lenses and glasses can help with the vision distortion, but the genetic factors and history behind Myopia have been largely confused.
Past studies suggested that the cause had been mainly environmental factors. Prolonged readers for example as well as genetic inheritance.
Now researchers into the condition have reported several genes or locations of genes associated with myopia, being the first occasion that a gene mutation for autosomal dominant nonsyndromic high-grade myopia in Caucasians has been discovered.
An international research group have reported out of the Duke Eye Center, Duke Center for Human Genetics and the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS).
In particular the interest lies in the gene mutation ( SCO2) that regulates both oxygen and copper levels within eye tissues and their association with nearsightedness. Different mutations of it result in differing diseases such as cardiomyopathy. It suggests that a deficiency in copper could predispose patients to develop myopia.
Further research will be undertaken with animal test subjects with the gene mutation to further investigate the link to nearsightedness.