Understanding Nearsightedness and Genetics

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Understanding Nearsightedness and Genetics

Date of Content: March 11, 2024
Written by: Harvey Talento
Reviewed by: Maarit Tiirikainen, PhD


Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a prevalent vision condition affecting a significant portion of the population. This condition can make distant objects appear blurry, while near objects remain clear.


The Science Behind Blurry Vision

The human eye relies on the cornea and lens to bend incoming light rays and focus them precisely onto the retina, a light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. This perfect focus enables us to see clearly.

However, in nearsightedness, the eyeball is either too elongated from front to back, or the cornea has an excessive curvature. This disrupts the light’s pathway, causing it to converge in front of the retina instead of directly on it. Consequently, distant objects become blurry.

Recognizing the Signs

Several indicators suggest the presence of nearsightedness:

If these symptoms are present, scheduling an eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist is crucial. Early detection and correction of nearsightedness can prevent potential complications.

How Genetics May Influence Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness impacts millions globally, shaping not only the vision but also reflecting the complex workings of the eye.. Research has uncovered genetic factors contributing to nearsightedness, revealing the fascinating connection between germline genetic variation and sight.

GJD2 / ACTC1 Genes

The chromosome 15q14 locus encompasses two notable genes: GJD2 and ACTC1. GJD2 encodes the Connexin36 protein, which plays a crucial role in visual signal transmission within the retina. Additionally, ACTC1, another candidate gene further away in this region, is speculated to be involved in scleral remodeling, potentially influencing myopia progression. A genetic variant in this region, SNP rs634990, was found to be associated with the risk for nearsightedness in a large international GWAS study. 


MIPEP, which stands for mitochondrial intermediate peptide gene, is one of the genes within the 13q12.12 locus associated with high myopia. The genetic variant rs9318086, located in intron 10 of the MIPEP gene, has demonstrated a significant association with high myopia in the Han Chinese population. This association was observed in a GWAS, with the variant showing strong odds ratios (heterozygous odds ratio = 1.32, homozygous odds ratio = 1.64) and a combined p-value of 1.91 × 10^-16 across multiple cohorts.

MYP11 Region

A genetic variant in  MYP11, Myopia 11 chromosomal region, located within chromosome 4q22–q27, is implicated in high-grade myopia (HM) among the Han Chinese population. Despite lacking known coding genes, a significant SNP, rs10034228, within this region correlates with HM susceptibility. Expressive sequence tags (ESTs)are present in the MYP11 locus, potentially influencing ocular development. Additionally, a predicted gene in this region shares sequence similarities with tubulin, suggesting a role in eye development. Further research into the MYP11 region may elucidate its contribution to HM pathology and aid in developing targeted therapies.

Studying the genetic variation linked to nearsightedness gives us a better understanding of how it develops and progresses. Knowing these genetic factors can lead to new ways to prevent and manage nearsightedness, and maybe even to find treatments.

Non-Genetic Factors Influencing Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is a common vision problem with a multifactorial origin. While the exact cause remains under investigation, research suggests a combination of genetic predisposition, as discussed, and environmental influences play a role. Let’s dive deeper into these environmental factors:

  • Near Work Activities: Extensive near work like reading, using computers, or focusing on close objects for prolonged periods has been linked to temporary nearsightedness.
  • Reduced Outdoor Time: Studies suggest spending less time outdoors, particularly in natural light, might be a contributing factor.
  • Other Factors: Other potential contributing factors include ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and certain prenatal or birth-related conditions.

It’s important to note that these factors likely interact in complex ways. Researchers are continuously investigating the causes of nearsightedness. By understanding these factors, we can potentially develop strategies to prevent or slow the progression of this condition.

Treatment Options for Sharpening Vision

Fortunately, nearsightedness is readily correctable through various methods:

  • Eyeglasses:  Corrective lenses that redirect light rays can be used to focus the light rays accurately on the retina.
  • Contact Lenses: Thin corrective lenses placed directly on the cornea provide a broader field of view than eyeglasses.
  • Refractive Surgery: In some cases, laser surgery can be used to permanently modify the cornea’s shape to enhance focus.

Living Comfortably with Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is a manageable condition. With appropriate vision correction and regular eye checkups, individuals can experience clear vision and participate fully in life’s activities. Here are some additional tips for comfortable living with nearsightedness:

  • Practice good eye hygiene: Regularly clean eyeglasses or contact lenses per the eye doctor’s instructions.
  • Reduce screen time: Take breaks from using computers, phones, and tablets to minimize eye strain.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun: Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays to safeguard your eyes from sun damage.

By understanding nearsightedness and taking the necessary steps for correction, we can enjoy a world in a sharp focus.

About the LifeDNA Wellness Report

Understanding even complex factors like those affecting Nearsightedness becomes pivotal as we navigate the intricate pathways of our wellness. Imagine having personalized insights into your unique genetic traits related to your well-being. This is where the LifeDNA Wellness Report steps in. Going beyond generic advice, this tool provides tailored recommendations based on your genetic code, offering a holistic perspective on your well-being. By unlocking your genetic insights, you can take proactive steps towards a brighter, more informed lifestyle with the LifeDNA Wellness Report. Get it today!


  • Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, affects a significant portion of the population, causing distant objects to appear blurry while near objects remain clear.
  • The human eye relies on precise light bending to focus images onto the retina. In myopia, the eyeball’s shape disrupts this process, leading to blurry distant vision.
  • Signs of nearsightedness include difficulty seeing distant objects, squinting, headaches from eye strain, and reduced vision in low light. Early detection through an eye exam is crucial for effective management.
  • Genetic factors contribute to nearsightedness, with genes like GJD2, ACTC1, MIPEP, and the MYP11 region playing key roles. Understanding these genetic influences may lead to new prevention and treatment approaches.
  • Environmental factors such as near-work activities, reduced outdoor time, and education level also influence nearsightedness development. These factors interact with genetic predispositions in complex ways.
  • Nearsightedness can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery, providing clear vision for individuals.
  • Practicing good eye hygiene, reducing screen time, and protecting eyes from the sun are essential for comfortable living with nearsightedness.
  • Understanding and managing nearsightedness empowers individuals to maintain clear vision and actively engage in daily activities.


  1. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/nearsightedness/
  2. https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/myopia
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19511.htm
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8579-myopia-nearsightedness
  5. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00439-012-1176-0
  6. https://bjo.bmj.com/content/105/6/869
  7. https://academic.oup.com/hmg/article/20/14/2861/703356
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058260/#:~:text=Whether%20this%20is%20due%20to,multifactorial%20etiology%20of%20refractive%20error.
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7973740/

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*Understanding your genetics can offer valuable insights into your well-being, but it is not deterministic. Your traits can be influenced by the complex interplay involving nature, lifestyle, family history, and others.

Our reports and suggestions do not diagnose or treat any health conditions or provide any medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any other concerns about your results.