Cardiff University researchers are searching the United Kingdom for short-sighted families. They are looking for volunteers for a study that aims to identify genes that predispose children to develop myopia.
Jez Guggenheim, project co-ordinator, points to recent research that suggests up to 85 per cent of the variation in refractive error may be because of genetic factors.
"Many people think that myopia in children may occur as a result of too much reading, but that is only partly true," he said. Identifying the genetic component to short-sightedness could help researchers develop more effective methods for prevention.
The optometrists are looking for families with two or more very short-sighted members in any one generation. They will be asked to send DNA samples in a collection tube by using a special mouthwash. The researchers will obtain details of participants' spectacle prescriptions from their opticians.