Eyevolution: Looking beyond short-sightedness

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1. Please provide a brief summary of your video and research.

To better understand myopia, squid eyes deserve a closer look. This video showcases Philip Turnbull’s work developing a squid model of myopia at the University of Auckland’s Myopia Laboratory.


Myopia, or short-sightedness, is reaching epidemic levels worldwide due to our increasingly modern lifestyles. According to the World Health Organisation, over one billion people are expected to suffer from myopia by 2020. 


Myopia is caused by excessive growth of the eye. Although the blurry vision caused by myopia can often be corrected with spectacles, the eye structure remains stretched and fragile, which can lead to irreversible vision loss. 


Myopia is complicated to study, because the vertebrate retina contains over 80 different types of neurons. In comparison, the invertebrate squid has evolved eyes with similar optics to ours, but with just one type of neuron. Thanks to convergent evolution, this makes squid a unique model to study the mechanisms of myopia. 


Squid eggs were collected off the New Zealand coast and raised in the lab under different coloured lights. As red light takes longer to focus than blue light, squid eyes grown in a red environment grew larger to remain in focus. 


This first invertebrate model of myopia shows that the squid eye can prevent myopia by staying in focus as it grows, and it achieves this with a much simpler retina.

2. Do you have a video hashtag for sharing via twitter?

#MyopicSquid

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Dr Turnbull is employed as both a research fellow and lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. He graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Optometry (Hons), then ...

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