Heritability of myopia and ocular biometrics in Koreans: the healthy twin study

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 May 1;54(5):3644-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11254.


Purpose: To estimate the heritabilities of myopia and ocular biometrics among different family types among a Korean population.

Methods: We studied 1508 adults in the Healthy Twin Study. Spherical equivalent, axial length, anterior chamber depth, and corneal astigmatism were measured by refraction, corneal topography, and A-scan ultrasonography. To see the degree of resemblance among different types of family relationships, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated. Variance-component methods were applied to estimate the genetic contributions to eye phenotypes as heritability based on the maximum likelihood estimation. Narrow sense heritability was calculated as the proportion of the total phenotypic variance explained by additive genetic effects, and linear and nonlinear effects of age, sex, and interactions between age and sex were adjusted.

Results: A total of 240 monozygotic twin pairs, 45 dizygotic twin pairs, and 938 singleton adult family members who were first-degree relatives of twins in 345 families were included in the study. ICCs for spherical equivalent from monozygotic twins, pooled first-degree pairs, and spouse pairs were 0.83, 0.34, and 0.20, respectively. The ICCs of other ocular biometrics were also significantly higher in monozygotic twins compared with other relative pairs, with greater consistency and conformity. The estimated narrow sense heritability (95% confidence interval) was 0.78 (0.71-0.84) for spherical equivalent; 0.86 (0.82-0.90) for axial length; 0.83 (0.76-0.91) for anterior chamber depth; and 0.70 (0.63-0.77) for corneal astigmatism.

Conclusions: The estimated heritability of spherical equivalent and ocular biometrics in the Korean population suggests the compelling evidence that all traits are highly heritable.

Keywords: heritability; myopia; twin study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Astigmatism / ethnology*
  • Astigmatism / genetics*
  • Biometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / ethnology*
  • Myopia / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Refractive Errors / ethnology
  • Refractive Errors / genetics
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors