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Acta Ophthalmol. 2019 Jan 31. doi: 10.1111/aos.14033. [Epub ahead of print]

Heredity of interocular similarities in components of refraction: a population-based twin study among 66- to 79-year-old female twins.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Central Hospital of Central Finland, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.



To examine genetic influences on interocular similarities in ocular refraction and components of refraction among elderly female twins.


Refraction was assessed in 94 monozygotic (MZ) and 74 dizygotic (DZ) female twins aged 66-78 years. Absolute values of interocular differences (Aniso variables) in spherical refraction (SR), refractive astigmatism (AST), spherical equivalent (SE), corneal refractive power (CR), corneal astigmatism (CAST), anterior chamber depth (ACD) and axial length (AL) were calculated. The differences between sisters in each of the Aniso variables were calculated and graded into two categories, best differentiating the groups, here isometropic and anisometropic values. The cut-offs for grading as isometropic were AnisoSR < 0.75 D, AnisoAST < 0.5 D, AnisoSE < 1.0 D, AnisoCR < 0.5 D, AnisoCAST < 0.50 D, AnisoACD < 0.1 mm and AniosAL < 0.1 mm. Genetic influences on these traits were investigated by comparing the prevalence of isometropic and anisometropic differences between the MZ and DZ pairs in the Aniso variables and the interrelationships between the Aniso variables.


When the Aniso variables were treated as continuous, no significant differences were found between the MZ and DZ subjects. When the proportions of isometropic intratwinpair interocular differences in the Aniso variables in the MZ and DZ cotwins were compared, the prevalences (MZ/DZ) were AnisoSR: 68%/60%; AnisoAST: 66%/57%; AnisoSE: 87%/68%; AnisoCR: 83%/78%; AnisoCAST: 69%/35%; AnisoACD: 77%/63%; and AnisoAL: 76%/60%. The differences were statistically significant for Aniso SE (p = 0.035, Fisher's exact test) and CAST (p = 0.007). The greater homogeneity in the interocular differences between the MZ sisters supports the assumption that isometropia of different elements of refraction is genetically influenced and tending to continue up to older ages. In cases where AnisoSE was <1.0 D, higher CR in one eye was associated with shorter AL (r = -0.398, p < 0.001), thereby contributing to emmetropization, irrespective of zygosity. In the cases of AnisoSE ≥1 D, no similar influence on emmetropization was observed. The difference between sisters in AnisoSE was associated with the intratwinpair difference in Aniso AL, but not with the intratwinpair differences in AnisoCR, irrespective of zygosity.


The higher prevalence of similarities in isometropia of the spherical equivalent and corneal astigmatism between the MZ pairs compared to DZ pairs is consistent with the view that genetic influences on the refractive elements of the eye, tending to isometropia, continue into older age. The interrelation between CR and AL tends to maintain isometropia of SE irrespective of zygosity.


ansiometropia; astigmatism; corneal refraction; emmetropia; isometropia; spherical equivalent


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