Myopia (often referred to as short-sightedness) occurs when the eye overgrows and elongates, and means that myopic individuals require optical correction to see clearly. Importantly, people with myopia are also at an increased risk of sight threatening conditions such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and macular disease.

The prevalence of myopia has been increasing globally; currently the prevalence across the world is ~20-25% of the population, with an estimated rise to 50% by 2050. Although the prevalence is highest in those with South East Asian descent, the proportion of children aged 10-16 in the UK with myopia has more than doubled over the last 50 years.

Our research will aim to investigate the complex risk factors for developing myopia by looking at children in Bradford who become myopic as they mature into adulthood. We also hope to develop potential clinical applications, such as implementing new protocols that are designed to reduce the myopia burden. In turn, this will help reduce the number of people with myopia, improve the quality of life of those with the condition and relieve the economic burden on the NHS.

Specific Projects

  • Investigate the genetic and environmental influences of myopia, with particular interest in the Born in Bradford dataset
  • Investigate the genetic and environmental influences on ocular development within the Born in Bradford dataset
  • Investigate the associated ocular conditions that are frequently found in myopic individuals
  • Investigating the ocular development and the emmetropization process, to identify why certain refractive errors such as myopia develop
  • In the longer term, to investigate the genetic influences that contribute to success in myopia interventions

Research outputs

Bruce A, Santorelli G, Wright J, Bradbury J, Barrett BT, Bloj M, Sheldon TA. Prevalence of, and risk factors for, presenting visual impairment: findings from a vision screening programme based on UK NSC guidance in a multi-ethnic population. Eye (Lond). 2018 Oct;32(10):1599-1607. doi: 10.1038/s41433-018-0146-8.

Bruce A, Kelly B, Chambers B, Barrett BT, Bloj M, Bradbury J, Sheldon TA. The effect of adherence to spectacle wear on early developing literacy: a longitudinal study based in a large multiethnic city, Bradford, UK. BMJ Open. 2018 Jun 12;8(6):e021277. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021277.

Ghorbani Mojarrad N, Plotnikov D, Williams C, Guggenheim JA; UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium. Association Between Polygenic Risk Score and Risk of Myopia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019 Oct 31. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.4421.

Ghorbani Mojarrad N, Williams C, Guggenheim JA. A genetic risk score and number of myopic parents independently predict myopia. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2018 Sep;38(5):492-502. doi: 10.1111/opo.12579.

Guggenheim JA, Ghorbani Mojarrad N, Williams C, Flitcroft DI. Genetic prediction of myopia: prospects and challenges. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2017 Sep;37(5):549-556. doi: 10.1111/opo.12403.

Hampson KM, Cufflin MP, Mallen EAH. Sensitivity of Chaos Measures in Detecting Stress in the Focusing Control Mechanism of the Short-Sighted Eye. Bull Math Biol. 2017 Aug;79(8):1870-1887. doi: 10.1007/s11538-017-0310-5.

Laughton DS, Sheppard AL, Mallen EAH, Read SA, Davies LN. Does transient increase in axial length during accommodation attenuate with age? Clin Exp Optom. 2017 Nov;100(6):676-682. doi: 10.1111/cxo.12533.

McGonigle C, van der Linde I, Pardhan S, Engel SA, Mallen EAH, Allen PM. Myopes experience greater contrast adaptation during reading. Vision Res. 2016 Apr;121:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2016.01.001.