Purpose. To investigate refractive error, especially myopia, in parents of myopic children and its association with education and occupation.
Methods. Six hundred twenty-seven parents (n = 375 mothers and 252 fathers) of the 469 myopic 6- to <12-year-old children enrolled in COMET provided refraction data as well as answered questions about their education and occupation. Eighty-five percent of the refractions were obtained by non-cycloplegic autorefraction (Nidek ARK 700A), and 15% were obtained from the most recent prescription.
Results. The mean age ± SD of the parents was 44.26 ± 5.81 years, and their mean spherical equivalent refraction was −2.34 ± 2.94 D. Parents with higher education (college degree or greater) had significantly more myopia (−2.97 ± 2.98 D) than parents with lower education (−1.72 ± 2.76 D). The odds of being myopic were significantly higher in the higher education group (multivariate odds ratio = 2.12, 95% confidence interval = 1.41 to 3.19). Mean myopia also differed significantly by occupation, with parents in white collar jobs (−2.87 ± 3.10 D) significantly more myopic than those in blue collar jobs (−1.21 ± 2.02 D) by 1.66 D (p < 0.001). The odds of being myopic between the two occupation groups were of borderline significance (multivariate odds ratio = 1.61, 95% confidence interval = 0.999 to 2.60).
Conclusions. The parents of myopic children participating in a clinical trial of lenses to slow the progression of myopia had a high prevalence of myopia that was associated with their level of education and to a lesser extent with their choice of occupation. To our knowledge, this is the first account of refractive errors, education, and occupation in parents of a large group of myopic children.