Disputation: Lene Aarvelta Hagen

Lene Aarvelta Hagen at campus Kongsberg holds a trial lecture and disputation on May 20.

20 May

Practical information

  • Date: 20. May 2020
  • Time: 10.00 - 15.30
  • Location: Campus Kongsberg

    Follow the disputation on Zoom (click on the link that becomes active when the program starts)

    Evaluation committee

    • First opponent: Professor Niall Strang, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.
    • Second opponent: Professor Neil Parry, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, UK.
    • Administrator: Associate professor Vibeke Sundling, USN.


    • Principal supervisor: Professor Rigmor Baraas, USN.
    • Co-supervisor: Associate professor Stuart Gilson, USN.


Lene Aarvelta Hagen at the University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, will be defending her thesis «Refractive errors, ocular dimensions, and cone opsins in Norwegian adolescents» for the degree of philosophiae doctor (ph.d.).


To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the event will be conducted at Zoom on May 20.

Digital trial lecture starts at 10.00 PM and public defens at 11.45 PM.


The worldwide increase in myopia prevalence is of concern since the ocular elongation raises the risk of secondary ocular pathology. In order to establish effective myopia prevention strategies, a deeper knowledge of the mechanism underlying refractive error development is needed. Refractive errors are the result of a highly complex process of ocular growth; influenced by environmental factors and with a genetic predisposition. The ocular growth is primarily regulated by visual signals, initiated by light absorption in the long (L), middle (M), and short (S) wavelength sensitive cones on the retina. The aim of this thesis was to explore and describe refractive errors, ocular dimensions, and whether myopia was associated with L:M cone ratios and heterozygosity/homozygosity of common L or M cone opsin exon 3 haplotypes in adolescents in Norway.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in a representative sample of Norwegian 16–19-year-olds. Cycloplegic autorefraction and ocular biometry were measured, L and M cone opsin genes were analysed, and individual L:M cone ratios were estimated. After 2 years, cycloplegic autorefraction and ocular biometry measurements were repeated in a subsample. The myopia prevalence was low in the Norwegian adolescents, even though they have few daylight hours available in the autumn-winter period and are in a high-performing education system. Emmetropes/low-hyperopes exhibited coordinated ocular growth at 18 years of age. Myopia was found to be associated with both low L:M cone ratios and heterozygosity of common L cone opsin exon 3 haplotypes in females.

The results indicated a well-adapted emmetropisation mechanism in the Norwegian adolescents and suggested that a low genetic predisposition protected this population from myopia. Individual differences in L:M cone ratios and common L cone opsin polymorphism may be of importance for personalised myopia prevention and management strategies.