Refractive errors in twin studies

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006 Aug;9(4):566-72. doi: 10.1375/183242706778024955.


It is estimated that 1.6 billion people worldwide have myopia, a refractive error, and this number is expected to increase to approximately 2.5 billion by the year 2020. It is now well established that both the environment and genetics play a role in the development of myopia. However, the exact contribution of each of these components to myopia development has yet to be completely determined. Twin studies (classical twin model) are commonly used to determine the weighting of genetic and environmental components in disease. Over the last century, twin studies have investigated the heritability of refractive errors in different sample populations and have collectively supported a genetic basis to refractive errors. However, different sample populations and methods of data collection have produced a wide range of heritability estimates ranging from .5 to .9. This article will review those twin studies that have investigated refractive error, particularly myopia, as well as biometric measures linked to refractive error, to compare heritability estimates and methodology designs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myopia / epidemiology
  • Myopia / genetics*
  • Twin Studies as Topic*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*