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Alireza Mirshahi, Rene Hoehn, Isabella Zwiener, Dagmar Laubert-Reh, Katharina A. Ponto, Christian Wolfram, Norbert Pfeiffer; Myopia and Level of Education: The Gutenberg Health Study (GHS). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):2739. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To analyze the association between myopia and level of education in a large German cohort.
GHS is a population-based, prospective, observational cohort study in midwestern Germany with a total of 15000 participants aged between 35 and 74. Participants undergo a standardized protocol with a comprehensive questionnaire, an ophthalmic examination, a complete general examination focused on cardiovascular parameters, psychosomatic evaluations and laboratory tests incl. genetic analysis. Furthermore, the levels of school and professional education were documented. The first 5000 participants were included into this analysis (stratified by gender, residence and decade of age). The spherical equivalent (SE) was determined by autorefractometry (Humphrey® HARK 599). Chi2 and Jonckheere-Terpstra tests were used for statistics.
Data was available for 4658 persons (2291 f / 2367 m). The absolute value of myopia (mean ±SD of SE) was higher in individuals having graduated after 13 years from school (-1.08 ±2.52) than in those having graduated after 9 years (0.24 ±2.28) and than in those who never finished secondary school (0.40 ±1.37; p<0.0001, respectively). The same holds true for persons with a university degree (-1.19 ±2.58) vs. those having finished primary (0.16 ±2.47) or secondary vocational schools (-0.34 ±2.28) and vs. persons without any professional qualification (0.57 ±2.06; p<0.0001 respectively). Of those having graduated from school after 13 years, 937 (60.3%) had a SE ≤-0.125, and 298 (19.2%) had an SE ≤-3, respectively. In contrast, the rate of myopia (<-0.125 D) was 719 (37.5%) and 9 (34.6%) in those having graduated after 9 years and in those having never graduated from secondary school, respectively (p<0.001). In university graduates, the prevalence of myopia was higher (≤-0.125 D in n=692, 61.9% and ≤ -3 D in n=230, 20.6%) than in those having graduated from primary (n=1000, 46.4% and n=213, 9.9%) or secondary vocational schools (n=353, 45.7% and n=87, 11.3%), and than in those not having any professional training (n=110, 29.9% and n=18, 4.9%, p<0.001, respectively).
Persons with a higher level of school and professional education are more often myopic than individuals with a lower degree of education. The magnitude of myopia increases with the level of education.
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