Can recording electrical responses from the retina help us understand what drives myopia?
There have been several genetic epidemiological studies that have found a large number of common genetic variants that confer some risk of myopia. These could potentially help us understand what predisposes some individuals to become myopic and others not. However, the precise mechanism by which these genetic variants confer risk is not known. Light-evoked responses of retinal neurons can be recorded non-invasively the living human eye as the electroretinogram. Analysing these responses from large numbers of healthy adult volunteers, a significant association between responses driven by our cone photoreceptors and this genetic polymorphism has been found. Examining responses from patients with specific rare retinal diseases, also shows that responses from certain neurons were particularly associated. These findings support a role for alterations in retinal cone-driven responses in conferring risk for myopia.
Practitioners will understand the potential role of retinal electrical responses in driving myopia onset.