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Approved research

Risk factors for myopia in adults

Principal Investigator: Professor Jeremy Guggenheim
Approved Research ID: 15716
Approval date: March 1st 2013 | Completion date: October 17th 2017

Lay summary

Short-sightedness (myopia) affects approximately 1 in 3 people in the UK, requiring the use of spectacles, contact lenses, or laser refractive surgery to remove its symptoms of blurred distance vision. As well as this widely recognised inconvenience, short-sighted eyes typically grow larger than normal, which puts them at increased risk of several other sight-threatening disorders. Indeed, a recent Scottish study identified myopia as the 4th most frequent cause of untreatable blindness. By studying the development of short-sightedness in a large sample of UK children (the ?Children of the 90's? cohort) our research team has identified several risk-factors for short-sightedness, including (a) season of birth, (b) birth order, (c) level of physical activity, (d) time spent reading, and (e) time spent outdoors. We are currently assessing the relationship between diet and short-sightedness. In order to test whether our findings in teenagers are replicated in adults, we would like to analyze information collected during the baseline visit of UK BioBank subjects. Specifically, we will compare baseline characteristics in subjects with and without short-sightedness. Ultimately, our work may lead to guidance on lifestyle choices that will minimise the risk of developing this condition.