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Scientists Identify Farsightedness Gene

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A gene linked with farsightedness has been identified by Australian scientists, who said the finding may lead to drug treatments that would replace glasses.

The researchers analyzed the DNA of 551 adults and identified variations of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene associated with farsightedness. People with this vision problem can see objects clearly at a distance but have difficulty with close-up tasks such as reading, Agence France Presse reported.

Farsightedness, also known as longsightedness, is likely caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. HGF is the first gene to be linked to the condition, which is treated with glasses, contact lenses and laser surgery.

"We hope this important gene discovery will help us develop new drug treatments and I expect it will have a profound impact on improving global eye health," said lead researcher Professor Paul Baird, of the Centre for Eye Research Australia in Melbourne, AFP reported.

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