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Possible Cause for High-Grade Nearsightedness Discovered

A recent study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics has identified gene mutations associated with severe, high-grade myopia (nearsightedness). Researchers at Duke Medicine found these mutations in the SCO2 gene that metabolizes copper, which is important to regulate oxygen levels in eye tissue. When there is too much oxygen, the eye’s development can be altered.

“This is the first time a gene mutation for autosomal dominant nonsyndromic high-grade myopia in Caucasians has been discovered,” said senior author Terri Young, M.D., MBA, professor of ophthalmology, pediatrics and medicine at the Duke Eye Center, Duke Center for Human Genetics and the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS). “Our findings reflect the hard work and collaboration of our international research team.”

“Our findings, plus information from the literature, suggest that copper deficiency could predispose people to develop myopia,” Young said. “While this wasn’t directly tested in this study, it’s possible that our diets – which are deficient in a number of minerals and vitamins – play a role, and it may be something as easy as taking a supplement with copper that helps thwart the development of myopia.”

Other factors besides gene mutations are likely responsible for myopia development. Additional myopia research will continue.

Nearsightedness is one vision condition that is often corrected through LASIK eye surgery. However, laser vision correction is not appropriate for all patients who have myopia, especially high-grade. The FDA has approved certain lasers to treat varying levels of myopia, even up to -.12 diopters; however, some doctors may recommend a different type of procedure for patients who don’t meet the right vision requirements.

If you have any degree of nearsightedness and would like to know if you are a good candidate for LASIK, contact Victoria Eye Center in Victoria to schedule a LASIK Consultation: 361-578-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com.