Researchers at the University of Cardiff and the University of Bristol are developing a genetic test for myopia. The test will help identify the children most at risk, around one in three in the UK alone. In this way it will be easier to intervene immediately to slow down the development of the condition.
Myopia is on the rise worldwide. The condition depends on excessive elongation of the eyeball, which prevents light from reaching the retina properly. The eye is therefore struggling to focus on distant objects, which appear increasingly blurred as myopia grows worse. Diagnosing myopia is simple: a visit to the ophthalmologist is sufficient.
Glasses and contact lenses help to stop the problem, but they do nothing for other possible disorders. In fact, myopia increases the risk of glaucoma, cataract, degenerative changes in the retina. Furthermore, current treatments can only slow down the worsening of vision, without ever stopping it altogether.
The researchers analyzed the genetic differences of more than 700,000 people, with and without myopia. This allowed them to identify diagnostic criteria in order to diagnose the disease before it occurs. Thanks to the test, researchers are able to tell which subjects are most at risk of getting sick.
The researchers hope to be able to use the test to identify the children most at risk, focusing on those who could lose more diopters as adults. In this way it will be possible to intervene with ad hoc treatments, which will stop the problem.