Inheritance of Refractive Error in Millennials

Scientific Reports
Dibyendu Pusti; Antonio Benito; Juan J. Madrid-Valero; Juan R. Ordoñana; Pablo Artal

Over the last decades, the prevalence of myopia has suddenly increased, and at this rate, half of the world’s population will be myopic by the year 2050. Contemporary behavioural and lifestyle circumstances, along with emergent technology, are thought to be responsible for this increase. Twin studies mostly reported a high heritability of refractive error across ethnicities. However, heritability is a population statistic and could vary as a result of changing environmental conditions. We studied the variance of refractive error in millennials with 100 twin pairs of university students in southeast Spain. The study population presented a high prevalence of myopia (77%). Statistical analysis showed the variance of refractive error in this group of young twins was mainly driven by the shared environment and, to a lesser extent, by additive genetic factors. We found an increase in myopia prevalence accompanied by a decrease in heritability in this sample of millennials in contrast with results from a previous generation group from the same ethnic origin.