Myopia Prevalence and Risk Factors in Children

  • The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for pediatric myopia in a contemporary American cohort.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

Publication date

November 2, 2018


Clinical Ophthalmology Journal


Theophanous C, Modjtahedi, Batech M, Marlin, Luong TQ, Fong
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