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Xiaohu Ding, Ian G. Morgan, Yin Hu, Zhaohui Yuan, Mingguang He; Exposure to the Life of a School Child Rather Than Age Determines Myopic Shifts in Refraction in School Children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(3):15. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.3.15.
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The prevalence of myopia increases with both age and grade for children attending school. The current study aimed to distinguish the effects of aging and grade on myopia.
Grade 1 students (706 at baseline in 2009, mean age 6.56 ± 0.29 years, range 6.00 to 6.99 years old, 55.5% boys) were followed up until 2012. Cycloplegic spherical equivalent (SE) was measured annually.
The sample in a grade was divided into three 4-month age blocks according to their birth month. Within each grade, there were no significant differences in SE between age blocks (all P > 0.05), despite an age range of one year. More myopic SE was observed in the youngest block of grade 2 compared to the oldest block of grade 1 (difference, −0.36 ± 0.08 D; P < 0.001), although age of the two blocks only differed by four months. Similarly, more myopic SE were found in the youngest block in grade 3 than the oldest block in grade 2 (differences, −0.50 ± 0.10 D; P < 0.001) and in the youngest block in grade 4 than the oldest block in grade 3 (differences, −0.82 ± 0.14 D; P < 0.001).
Exposure to schooling, rather than age, appears to be the major driver of refractive development, at least in the early years of schooling. Interventions during this period, involving reductions in educational pressure and increased time outdoors may have major effects on the subsequent development of myopia.
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