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Myopia prevalence and risk factors in children

Authors Theophanous C, Modjtahedi BS, Batech M, Marlin DS, Luong TQ, Fong DS

Received 5 February 2018

Accepted for publication 7 April 2018

Published 29 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1581—1587

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S164641

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Christos Theophanous,1 Bobeck S Modjtahedi,2,3 Michael Batech,4 David S Marlin,1 Tiffany Q Luong,4 Donald S Fong2–4

1Department of Ophthalmology, Southern California Medical Group, Los Angeles, CA, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Baldwin Park, CA, USA; 3Eye Monitoring Center, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Baldwin Park, CA, USA; 4Department of Research and Evaluation, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Pasadena, CA, USA

Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for pediatric myopia in a contemporary American cohort.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of pediatric patients enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health plan was done. Eligible patients were 5- to 19-years old between January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2013, and received an ophthalmologic or optometric refraction. Electronic medical records were reviewed for demographic data, refraction results, and exercise data. Prevalence and relative risks of myopia (defined as ≤-1.0 diopter) were characterized. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, median neighborhood income, and minutes of exercise per day were examined as risk factors.
Results: There were 60,789 patients who met the inclusion criteria, of which 41.9% had myopia. Myopia was more common in older children (14.8% in 5- to 7-year olds, 59.0% in 17- to 19-year olds). Asian/Pacific Islander patients (OR 1.64, CI 1.58–1.70) had an increased rate of myopia compared to White patients as did African Americans to a lesser extent (OR 1.08, CI 1.03–1.13). Median neighborhood household income of $25,000–40,000 was associated with lower rates of myopia (OR 0.90, CI 0.83–0.97) compared to median neighborhood household incomes less than $25,000. Having at least 60 min of daily exercise was associated with lower prevalence of myopia (OR 0.87, CI 0.85–0.89).
Discussion: Myopia was common in this large and diverse Southern Californian pediatric cohort. The prevalence of myopia increases with age. Asian children are at highest risk for myopia. Exercise is associated with a lower rate of myopia and represents an important potentially modifiable risk factor that may be a target for future public health efforts.

Keywords: children, epidemiology, exercise, refractive error, myopia, pediatrics, prevalence, public health

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