Refractive Error Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Confinement in Children from Puerto Rico: A Retrospective Study
Significant myopic progression occurred in Puerto Rican children following pandemic-related confinement, irrespective of their initial refractive status. The study, conducted at the Inter American Eye Institute, analyzed 801 records of children aged 7 to 18 before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. A notable myopic shift post-lockdown was observed in all age groups except 7- and 8-year-olds. No significant gender-based differences were found. The mean spherical equivalent showed a substantial pre- to post-lockdown difference (0.22 ± 0.59 D). This indicates a noteworthy impact of the pandemic on the refractive error of Hispanic school-aged children, highlighting the potential influence of online learning during lockdown on visual health. The study underscores the importance of monitoring and addressing myopia progression in this population.