Genetics and Long Years of Schooling can Cause Nearsightedness


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Myopia also has economic, societal and healthcare impact due to the requirement of sight tests, corrective aids or surgery, and the associated increased risk of blindness and sight impairment (

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Nearsighted vision is associated with a range of eye disorders like glaucoma, which is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss. Children often become nearsighted because of genetics, years of education and too little time spent in the outdoors. While studies have identified more than 450 genetic variants associated with an increased risk of nearsightedness, a few have been shown to increase risk specifically in people with the associated lifestyle factors.

Association of Genetics, Years of Education and Nearsightedness

In the new study, researchers used genetic and health data from more than 340,000 participants with European ancestry. They performed a genome-wide study to identify genetic variants that make people more susceptible to becoming nearsighted in combination with intensive schooling (3 Trusted Source
Education interacts with genetic variants near GJD2, RBFOX1, LAMA2, KCNQ5 and LRRC4C to confer susceptibility to myopia

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The study yielded five genetic variants that progressively increased the risk of becoming nearsighted for individuals, the more time they spent in school – especially for people who had attained education at the university level.

Three of these variants were previously unknown, while two were found in studies of East Asian research, where about 80% of children become nearsighted. For comparison, about 30% of children develop nearsightedness in the West. The researchers said that these findings provide new insights into the biological pathways that cause nearsightedness, but more research is needed to understand how those pathways interact with lifestyle factors to cause the condition.

Researchers add, “As well as requiring the need for glasses or contact lenses, myopia is a leading cause of uncorrectable visual impairment. Building on our previous research linking education and myopia, the new study identifies 5 genes associated with myopia development whose effects are amplified by additional years spent in education.”

References :

  1. Myopia – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33328468/)
  2. IMI Pathologic Myopia – (https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2772537)
  3. Education interacts with genetic variants near GJD2, RBFOX1, LAMA2, KCNQ5 and LRRC4C to confer susceptibility to myopia
    (https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1010478)

Source: Medindia



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