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Melissa Wagner-Schuman, Maureen Neitz, Jay Neitz; Slowing the progression of myopia in children. Journal of Vision 2008;8(17):90. doi: 10.1167/8.17.90.
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Visual experience regulates the growth of eye length in children. Normally the eye grows to match its optics; however, in some children, eye growth is too rapid resulting in myopia. This could be prevented if elongation was controlled in patients whose eyes grow too fast either as a result of a genetic predisposition, environmental influences or a combination of the two. Myopia has been known to have major genetic and environmental components; however, previous efforts to identify them have failed. Visual signals that guide emmetropization are initiated by light absorption in L and M cone photopigments. These photopigments are highly variable, making the corresponding genes candidates for causing myopia. We tested the hypothesis that variants of the L opsin gene are associated with myopia and found that they account for as much as 95% of the genetic component of simple myopia. This discovery illuminates a mechanism whereby genetic and environmental components operate through a common pathway, and indicates that myopia in children can be prevented by controlling their visual experiences through the use of special optical lenses. Ten myopic children were recruited, refracted, and fit with modified glasses. The left lens was used as a control. Axial length was measured before treatment and continuing every two weeks for a total of 3 months using a Zeiss IOL Master. We found a greater than five-fold (p = 0.004) lower rate of eye growth in eyes treated with the new lens as compared to control eyes.
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