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Myopia research highlighted at ARVO

Studies examining the effects of light bulbs, caffeine eye drops and reading in the evening were presented at the annual meeting in Hawaii


Studies into the progression of myopia were presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Honolulu, Hawaii (29 April–3 May).

Light bulbs

A study has found that commercially-available light bulbs may contribute to the progression of myopia, while scientists have developed a new source of light that may protect against its development.

Researchers examined the effect of two LED bulbs on chicks over three days and found that both light bulbs encouraged eye growth. The researcher-designed light source appeared to reduce eye growth and cause less nearsightedness than the other two products.

The study’s first author, Hannah Yoon from the New England College of Optometry in the US, said: “These findings have significant clinical implications, as the lighting we created could potentially be used in indoor environments, like school classrooms, for the prevention of myopia.”


Meanwhile, researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai, China have found that a lemon-tasting oil slows the development of myopia in guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs were fed citral or retinoic acid, with a control group also studied. Animals that were fed retinoic acid were more nearsighted than the control group, and citral-fed animals were less nearsighted than the control group.

Researchers explained that citral is known to inhibit the creation of retinoic acid in the body, suggesting that inhibiting retinoic acid synthesis may be a viable target for a future drug to treat myopia.

First author Manrong Yu, said: “This finding may provide a new perspective to investigate the mechanism of myopia development and a new way to inhibit myopia progression. But, there is a long way to go from bench to bedside.”

"The lighting we created could potentially be used in indoor environments, like school classrooms, for the prevention of myopia"

Morning readers

Reading in the morning may promote the development of myopia faster than reading in the evening, according to new research.

Scientists in Adelaide, Australia, examined 12 young adults to determine whether reading-like conditions impacted the eye differently depending on the time of day.

First author, Dr Ranjay Chakraborty from Flinders University, explained: “Our results show that changes in the length of the eye in response to visual blur, which causes myopia, are dependent on the time of the day.”

“As a result, scheduling intensive reading activities in the evening, along with frequent breaks for distance viewing may prevent the development of myopia in school children, particularly the ones that are at risk of developing myopia due to excessive near work,” Dr Chakraborty added. 

Caffeine eye drops

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Houston in the US has found that caffeine eye drops slowed the progression of myopia in monkeys.

The development of the eye condition was examined in a small group of monkeys and compared to those treated with caffeine eye drops to a control group. The monkeys that were treated twice a day were less myopic than the control group.

First author Zhihui She, said: “The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that caffeine and other adenosine receptor antagonists may retard myopia progression and highlight the potential of caffeine eye drops in efforts to reduce the burden of myopia.”