Nearwork and familial resemblances in ocular refraction: a population study in Newfoundland

Clin Genet. 1981 Jun;19(6):462-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.1981.tb02065.x.


There is considerable epidemiological evidence that the nearwork associated with formal education can cause myopia. The potential for nearwork and education, as aspects of common familial environment, to inflate resemblances among nuclear family members in ocular refraction, was therefore investigated in a sample of 957 persons aged 5 years and over, comprising approximately 80% of the population above that age in three communities on the west coast of Newfoundland. Refraction was evaluated using standard optometric methods, nearwork measured in hours/day as reported by each subject, education measured as last completed school grade in years. The effects of nearwork and education on refraction resemblances were evaluated by adjusting refraction for age and sex, then comparing correlations or regressions among relatives before and after further linear regression adjustment of refraction for nearwork and education. Reductions in sib-sib correlations and offspring-parent regressions were achieved in this way, suggesting that these environmental factors inflate familial resemblances in refraction. Patterns of resemblances among relatives after adjustment suggest that the effects of nearwork and education on refraction resemblances were not completely removed by the linear regression adjustment used.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education
  • Environment*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / epidemiology
  • Myopia / etiology*
  • Myopia / genetics
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Reading
  • Refraction, Ocular