Objective: To evaluate whether eye size and shape are different in children based on their parental history of myopia.
Design: A community-based cohort study of schoolchildren (aged 6 to 14 years), the Orinda (Calif) Longitudinal Study of Myopia.
Setting: Four campuses of the Orinda Union School District, a predominantly white, high socioeconomic status community.
Participants: A cross-sectional volunteer sample of 716 children (662 non-myopic) in the first, third, and sixth grades in 1989, 1990, and 1991. All children in those grades were eligible for inclusion in the study.
Main outcome measures: Refractive error (measured by autorefraction), corneal curvature (measured by photokeratoscopy), crystalline lens power (measured by video phakometry), and axial ocular dimensions (measured by ultrasonography).
Results: With prevalent cases of myopia excluded and grade in school and "near work" controlled for, children with two myopic parents had longer eyes and less hyperopic refractive error (analysis of covariance, P < or = .01) than children with only one myopic parent or no myopic parents. A model incorporating parental history is only improved by the addition of near work for the prediction of refractive error.
Conclusions: Even before the onset of juvenile myopia, children of myopic parents have longer eyes. These results suggest that the premyopic eye in children with a family history of myopia already resembles the elongated eye present in myopia.