My lab seeks to better understand the underlying mechanisms of strabismus. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes that occurs in 2-3% of people and can cause loss of binocular vision and even loss of vision in the weaker eye. We examine risk factors, including the role of orbital anatomy, risk genes, including some genes likely inherited through Neanderthal introgression, to better understand the substantial ethnic variation in strabismus prevalence and types. Current projects explore the global prevalence of strabismus, ethnic variation, reasons for a strabismus epidemic in Caucasians in the middle of the 20th century, reasons for the current strabismus epidemic in China, the underlying mechanisms for increased strabismus in cerebral palsy, in Down syndrome, and why one type of strabismus, exotropia, is one of the strongest risk factors for schizophrenia. We examine the association between the prevalence of strabismus types and gene expression (SNPs) of relevant signaling molecules such as RUNX2 and TWIST1 (which determine the width of the orbit and interpupillary distance), as well as prepare global maps of the geographic distribution of orbital features (interpupillary distance and proptosis) and strabismus prevalence and types that inform about the underlying reasons for the ethnic variations in strabismus.
- University of Nevada, Reno, School of Public Health
- Nevada Bioinformatics Center
- COMSATS University, Islamabad, Pakistan
- Laughton et al., Journal of Global Health 13:04085 (2023); Zehra et al., Experimental and Clinical Ophthalmology 51:646-649 (2023)