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Grandmothers’ smoking in pregnancy is associated with a reduced prevalence of early-onset myopia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number15413 (2019)
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 28 Oct 2019


Myopia (near sightedness) is the most common vision disorder resulting in visual impairment worldwide. We tested the hypothesis that intergenerational, non-genetic heritable effects influence refractive development, using grandparental prenatal smoking as a candidate exposure. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we found that the prevalence of myopia at age 7 was lower if the paternal grandmother had smoked in pregnancy, an association primarily found among grandsons compared to granddaughters. There was a weaker, non-sex-specific, reduction in the prevalence of myopia at age 7 if the maternal grandmother had smoked in pregnancy. For children who became myopic later (between 7 and 15 years of age) there were no associations with either grandmother smoking. Differences between early and late-onset myopia were confirmed with DNA methylation patterns: there were very distinct and strong associations with methylation for early-onset but not later-onset myopia.

    Research areas

  • epidemiology, epigenetics

    Structured keywords

  • ALSPAC - myopia, smoking

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    Licence: CC BY


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