Uncorrected Refractive Error in Older British Adults: The Epic-Norfolk Eye Study

  • The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of, and demographic associations with, uncorrected refractive error (URE) in an older British population.

  • Data from 4,428 participants, aged 48–89 years, who attended an eye examination in the third health check of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk study and had also undergone an ophthalmic examination were assessed.

  • Adjusted to the 2010 midyear British population, the prevalence of URE in this Norfolk population was 1.9%.

  • Lower self-rated distance vision was correlated with higher prevalence of URE. In a multivariate logistic regression model adjusting for age, gender, retirement status, educational level and social class, independent significant associations with URE were increasing age and having hypermetropic or myopic refractive error.

  • Wearing distance spectacles was inversely associated with URE.

  • There were 3063 people (69.2%) who wore spectacles/contact lenses for distance vision. Spectacle wear differed according to type of refractive error, and use rose with increasing severity of refractive error.

  • Although refractive error is common, the prevalence of URE was found to be low in this population reflecting a low prevalence of PVA<0.3.

Publication date

April 16, 2019


British Journal of Ophthalmology

Sponsor Institution

EPIC was funded by The Medical Research Council, UK (G0401527), Cancer Research UK (C864/A8257) and Research into Ageing, UK (262). Professor Foster has received additional support from The Richard Desmond Charitable Trust (via Fight for Sight) and the Department for Health through the award made by the National Institute for Health Research to Moorfields Eye Hospital and The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology for a specialist Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology.


Justin C Sherwin, Anthony P Khawaja, David Broadwa, Robert Luben, Shabina Hayat, Nichola Dalzell, Nicholas J Wareham, Kay-Tee Khaw, Paul J Foster
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