Purpose: To quantify the degree of association between juvenile myopia and parental myopia, near work, and school achievement.
Methods: Refractive error, parental refractive status, current level of near activities (assumed working distance-weighted hours per week spent studying, reading for pleasure, watching television, playing video games or working on the computer), hours per week spent playing sports, and level of school achievement (scores on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills [ITBS]) were assessed in 366 eighth grade children who participated in the Orinda Longitudinal Study of Myopia in 1991 to 1996.
Results: Children with myopia were more likely to have parents with myopia; to spend significantly more time studying, more time reading, and less time playing sports; and to score higher on the ITBS Reading and Total Language subtests than emmetropic children (chi(2) and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests; P < 0.024). Multivariate logistic regression models showed no substantial confounding effects between parental myopia, near work, sports activity, and school achievement, suggesting that each factor has an independent association with myopia. The multivariate odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for two compared with no parents with myopia was 6.40 (2.17-18.87) and was 1.020 (1.008-1.032) for each diopter-hour per week of near work. Interactions between parental myopia and near work were not significant (P = 0.67), indicating no increase in the risk associated with near work with an increasing number of parents with myopia.
Conclusions: Heredity was the most important factor associated with juvenile myopia, with smaller independent contributions from more near work, higher school achievement, and less time in sports activity. There was no evidence that children inherit a myopigenic environment or a susceptibility to the effects of near work from their parents.