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Heike Lange, Mandy Vogel, Arne Ohlendorf, Siegfried Wahl, Peter MH Wiedemann, Wieland Kiess, Franziska G Rauscher; Prevalence of refractive errors in a large German cohort of children and adolescents. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):3974. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate the prevalence of refractive errors in German children aged 2- 19 years old.
The Leipzig Research Centre for Civilization Diseases (LIFE) is a population-based, prospective, observational single-center study that investigates the development of children and adolescents in Germany. In a cohort of the study sample, the ocular status of urban preschool children or school children and adolescents was evaluated. Participants underwent a standardized protocol including questionnaires and an optometric examination. The examination included measurement of non-cycloplegic refractive errors, of the ocular dimensions of the eye using non-contact optical low-coherence reflectometry (Lenstar 900, Haag Streit, Könitz, Switzerland) and of the visual acuity. Refractive errors were determined using wavefront-based autorefraction (ZEISS i.Profiler plus, Carl Zeiss Vision GmbH, Aalen, Germany) with the following definitions: myopia < -0.5 diopters (D), hyperopia > +0.5 D, astigmatism <-0.5 D.
Spherocylindrical errors of the eye (sphere and astigmatism) were calculated from the lower order aberrations (Z2;0, Z2,2; Z2,-2) for a pupil diameter of 4mm for the right eye of 1200 children, aged 2-19 years (mean: 10 ± 3.9 years). For all children, the prevalence of emmetropia was highest (65%; mean: 0.00D ± 0.26D), while hyperopia and myopia were equally prevalent (hyperopia: 17.4%, mean: +1.37D ±0.38D; myopia: 17.6%, mean: -1.52D ± 1.18D). The average astigmatic refractive error was -0.97D (SD ±0.68D) and was prevalent in 22.4% of the children. When participants were separated into preschool children (n= 355, mean age: 5 ± 1.2 years, range 2-6 years), school children and adolescents (n= 845, mean age: 12 ± 2.8 years, range 7-19 years), prevalence of emmetropia was still highest (preschool: 65%; school children and adolescents: 65%), while the prevalence of myopia increased in the group of school children and adolescents (21%) compared to preschool children (9%).
The prevalence of myopia and hyperopia is modest in urban children living in Germany. When separated into preschool children or school children and adolescents, the prevalence increases, but is still lower compared to rural Asian children. The global trend towards an increasing prevalence of myopia was not observed in the study group.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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