Regional variations and temporal trends of childhood myopia prevalence in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

This study provides contemporary and future estimates of childhood myopia prevalence in Africa. For a long time, Africa has been left out of the global myopia conversation due to the comparatively low prevalence of this refractive error on the continent.

A systematic online literature search was conducted for articles on childhood (≤18 years) myopia (spherical equivalent [SE] ≤ −0.50D; high myopia: SE ≤ −6.00D) in Africa. Population- or school-based cross-sectional studies published from 1 Jan 2000 to 30 May 2021 were included.

Forty-two studies from 19 (of 54) African countries were included in the meta-analysis (N = 737,859). Overall prevalence of childhood myopia and high myopia were 4.7% (95% CI: 3.3%–6.5%) and 0.6% (95% CI: 0.2%–1.1%), respectively. Estimated prevalence across the African regions was highest in the North (6.8% [95% CI: 4.0%–10.2%]), followed by Southern (6.3% [95% CI: 3.9%–9.1%]), East (4.7% [95% CI: 3.1%–6.7%]) and West (3.5% [95% CI: 1.9%–6.3%]) Africa. Prevalence from 2011 to 2021 was approximately double that from 2000 to 2010 for all studies combined, and between 1.5 and 2.5 times higher for ages 5–11 and 12–18 years, for boys and girls and for urban and rural settings, separately.

Publication date

August 13, 2022


Journal of the College of Optometrists


Emmanuel Kobia-Acquah: Daniel Ian Flitcroft: Prince Kwaku Akowuah: Gareth Lingham: James Loughman
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