Myopia Genetics—The Asia-Pacific Perspective

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Myopia is a major cause of visual impairment worldwide. In particular, high myopia is associated with serious blinding complications, including retinal detachment, chorioretinal degeneration, and choroidal neovascularization. Myopia is multifactorial in etiology, resulting from the interaction of environmental and genetic risk factors. During the past 2 decades, a large number of gene loci and variants have been identified for myopia. There are more than 20 myopia-associated loci spanning all chromosomes. Earlier findings were obtained mainly from family linkage analyses and candidate gene studies, and more recent results are principally from genome-wide association studies and exome sequencing. Some genetic associations have been successfully validated and replicated in populations of different geographic localities and ethnicities, but some have not. Compared with Whites, Asian populations—in particular Japanese, Korean, and Chinese—have a much higher prevalence of myopia, especially high myopia. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to such ethnic variations. This review attempts to summarize and compare the allelic frequencies of gene variants known to be associated with myopia in different ethnic groups, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

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