Estimation of heritability in myopic twin studies

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;53(6):615-622. doi: 10.1007/s10384-009-0724-1. Epub 2009 Dec 18.


Purpose: To examine the genetic and environmental factors for myopia at the family level, as well as risk factors such as ocular measurements and environmental covariates at the individual level, by analysis of myopic twin data.

Methods: A myopic twin study was conducted on participants from the 2000 Guinness World Records for twins in Taiwan. A total of 130 participants comprising 58 twin pairs and 13 siblings were recruited. The generalized estimating equation approach was used to evaluate the covariate effects. A Bayesian linear mixed model was then used to estimate the heritability.

Results: Pearson's intrapairwise correlation coefficients for ocular refraction and its components were higher among monozygotic twins than among dizygotic twins. The significance of sex suggested that women are more myopic than men. Both axial length and anterior chamber depth were significant factors associated with myopia. The results also showed that people with higher education levels were more likely to have a higher degree of myopia. After accounting for genetic and environmental effects and other covariates, the estimate of heritability of myopia was as high as 0.306.

Conclusions: After adjusting for environmental covariates, heritability still plays a decisive genetic role in the development of myopia.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Educational Status
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myopia / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Twins, Dizygotic*
  • Twins, Monozygotic*