Support for polygenic influences on ocular refractive error

Alison P. Klein, Priya Duggal, Kristine E. Lee, Ronald Klein, Joan E. Bailey-Wilson, Barbara E.K. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Refractive errors, myopia, and hyperopia are common conditions requiring corrective lenses. The familial clustering of myopia has been well established. Several chromosomal regions have been linked to high myopia (12q, 17q, and 18q), to quantitative refraction among twins (3q, 4q, 8p, and 11p), and to families with moderate myopia (22q). This study examined the familial aggregation and pattern of inheritance of ocular refraction in an adult population, by using data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study. METHODS. Familial correlations were examined and segregation analysis was performed on the average refractive error measurements in the right and left eyes after adjustment for age, sex, and education. Analyses were based on 2138 individuals in 620 extended pedigrees with complete data on age, sex, education, and spherical equivalent. RESULTS. Substantial positive correlation was found between siblings (0.33), parents and offspring (0.17), and cousins (0.10) and lower correlation among avuncular pairs (0.08) after adjustment for age, sex, and years of education. The results of this segregation analysis do not support the involvement of a single major locus throughout the entire range of refractive error. However, models allowing for familial correlation, attributable in part to polygenic effects, provided a better fit to the observed data than models without a polygenic component, suggesting that several genes of modest effect may influence refractive error, possibly in conjunction with environmental factors. CONCLUSIONS. These results support the involvement of genetic factors in the etiology of refractive error and are consistent with reports of linkage to multiple regions of the genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-446
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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