Heritability and familial aggregation of refractive error in the Old Order Amish

Jon A. Peet, Mary Frances Cotch, Robert Wojciechowski, Joan E. Bailey-Wilson, Dwight Stambolian

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33 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To determine the heritability of refractive error and familial aggregation of myopia and hyperopia in an elderly Old Order Amish (OOA) population. METHODS. Nine hundred sixty-seven siblings (mean age, 64.2 years) in 269 families were recruited for the Amish Eye Study in the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania. Refractive error was determined by noncycloplegic manifest refraction. Heritability of refractive error was estimated with multivariate linear regression as twice the residual sibling-sibling correlation after adjustment for age and gender. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the sibling recurrence odds ratio (ORs). Myopia and hyperopia were defined with five different thresholds. RESULTS. The age- and gender-adjusted heritability of refractive error was 70% (95% CI: 48%-92%) in the OOA. Age and gender-adjusted ORs and sibling recurrence risk (λ s), with different thresholds defining myopia ranged from 3.03 (95% CI: 1.58-5.80) to 7.02 (95% CI: 3-41-14.46) and from 2.36 (95% CI: 1.65-3.19) to 5.61 (95% CI: 3-06-9.34). Age and gender-adjusted ORs and λs for different thresholds of hyperopia ranged from 2.31 (95% CI: 1.56-3-42) to 2.94 (95% CI: 2.04-4.22) and from 1.33 (95% CI: 1.22-1.43) to 1.85 (95% CI: 1.18-2.78), respectively. Women were significantly more likely than men to have hyperopia. There was no significant gender difference in the risk of myopia. CONCLUSIONS. In the OOA, refractive error is highly heritable. Hyperopia and myopia aggregate strongly in OOA families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4002-4006
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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