July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Prevalence of myopia in German kids and teenagers over a period of 30 years
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Andreas Hartwig
    Hartwig Research Center, Heikendorf, Germany
    LHS, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Pablo De Gracia
    Chicago College of Optomerty, Midwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Andreas Hartwig, None; Pablo De Gracia, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 3379. doi:
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      Andreas Hartwig, Pablo De Gracia; Prevalence of myopia in German kids and teenagers over a period of 30 years. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):3379.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : The prevalence of myopia is reaching epidemic levels in children and teenagers in South-East Asian countries. It is still debated, if the prevalence of myopia also increases in the Western world and exact numbers are missing for individual regions. The aim of the present study is to analyse the prevalence of myopia in northern Germany for kids and teenagers over a period of 30 years.

Methods : The prevalence of myopia of the database of a local optometry practice in Kiel, Germany (1,680 cases, ages ranging between 1 and 18 years old) was studied using a retrospective, cross-sectional case analysis. Subjective far distance prescriptions -spherical equivalent (SE)- for the right eyes along with patient’s age at the time of the refraction were evaluated. The data was collected between 1987 and 2017. Eyes were grouped according to their SE in two groups: high myopes (≤ -6.0D) and myopes (> -6.0D and ≤ -0.75D). The age of the subjects was grouped into six-year intervals: ≤ 6 years old, 7 to 12 years old and 13 to 18 years old.
Refractive error prevalence rates were calculated for each age group and data was separated by gender.

Results : The overall prevalence of myopia was 50%. For young patients (≤ 6 years old) the prevalence of myopia was 18%. In the group ranging between 7 and 12 years old the prevalence was 30% and in the group 13 and 18 years old 72%. In the group of young patients (≤ 6 years old) only 9% of boys were myopic and 23% of the girls were myopic. High myopes were seen very infrequently (2%).

Conclusions : Our study shows an increase in the prevalence of myopia in teenagers. In China, high myopia is more frequent and a dramatic increase in the prevalence of myopia is seen in children and teenagers. In Germany, however, high myopia is very infrequent and differences between gender are observed. An overall prevalence rate of 50% in children and teenagers indicates that myopia interventions should be considered in Germany.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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