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A. M. Zhu, J. Lin, K. Tarczy-Hornoch, M. Torres, S. A. Cotter, M. Borchert, S. Azen, R. Varma, the MEPEDS Group; Myopia in Preschool Children: The Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):1550.
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To determine the prevalence of myopia by age, gender, and ethnicity in Hispanic and African-American children 6 to 72 months of age.
A population-based cohort of children 6-72 months of age underwent Retinomax autorefraction 30 to 60 minutes after cycloplegia with 2 drops of 1% cyclopentolate 5 minutes apart (0.5% for children <=12 months of age). If drops were refused, noncycloplegic retinoscopy was performed, and if Retinomax readings had a confidence interval <8, cycloplegic retinoscopy was performed. The eye with the greater absolute value spherical equivalent (SE) refractive error was analyzed. Myopia is defined as 1 D SE or greater.
Refractive error was measured in 3024 Hispanic and 2993 African-American children. Myopia prevalence decreased with age, being 10% (n=572), 8.2% (n=1091), 5.2% (n=1114), 3.5% (n=1061), 3.0% (n=1092), and 3.2% (n=1087) in children aged 6-11, 12-23, 24-35, 36-47, 48-59, and 60-72 months, respectively. The decrease was significant in both African-American and Hispanic children (p<0.0001 for both groups; trend test). There was no significant difference in myopia prevalence between genders in either ethnic group (Hispanic, p=0.15; African-American, p=0.59; logistic regression adjusting for age). Myopia was more prevalent in African-American children (6.6%) than Hispanic children (3.7%) (p<0.0001, logistic regression adjusting for age). Overall, for every age group, there is a higher prevalence of myopia in African-American children.
Myopia prevalence is higher in African-American preschool children than in Hispanic preschool children. In contrast to studies examining school-aged children, these preschool children do not show increasing myopia with increasing age; on the contrary, myopia is more frequent in children younger than three years of age than in older preschool children, presumably reflecting active emmetropization in the first few years of life.
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