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Frank Schaeffel will boost myopia research in Basel

Frank Schaeffel joins IOB from the University of Tübingen, where he has been University Professor and Head of the Section of Neurobiology of the Eye in the Institute for Ophthalmic Research Centre for Ophthalmology.


"We are very happy that he and his team will help IOB accelerate to gain a better understanding of myopia, and the development of novel treatments for this potentially blinding condition." IOB

"The IOB Myopia Research Group will develop and study visual stimuli to reduce eye growth. These studies will start in human subjects, but we also plan to study the visual control of eye growth in mouse models. Our team has extensive experience in developing and using optical technologies to measure miniature changes in the eyes of humans and mice, and in the development of novel visual stimuli", Frank Schaeffel explains.

During normal visual development, children’s eyes lengthen at the same speed as the focal length of the optics. The result is an optimally sharp image on the retina and best visual acuity – which most kids have developed by the time they leave kindergarten. As they grow older, however, some eyes unfortunately tend to grow more than necessary. By the time they get to high school examinations, about half of the young people in Europe may be myopic – in other words near-sighted. The good news is that ‘common’ near-sightedness can be dealt with by spectacles or contact lenses. The bad news is that high myopia (minus 6 diopters or more) increases the risk of retinal complications. These can already cause severe visual deficits by middle age.

It is therefore important to slow the progression of myopia as early as possible.