Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is it possible to predict myopia in children?

JAMA: According to US researchers, a simple test performed in children can predict if a child will become myopic in adolescence. This information is provided by the refractive error, according to a study published in the journal "JAMA Ophthalmology." Scientists from the University of Ohio, Columbus, analyzed data from 4,500 students, from first grade until eighth grade in the United States, which had been collected over a period of 20 years. The vision of the participants was assessed at baseline and again at two follow-up studies. The researchers then analyzed whether any of the 13 risk factors could predict significantly the risk of developing myopia later. Eight factors were indeed associated with an increased risk of visual impairment. For example, the risk was higher if both parents were myopic. Surprisingly, close work such as reading or watching television had no influence.However, the rate of refractive error turned out to be the best predictor. Children whose eyes have normal growth should actually be slightly farsighted. If it were not, or only to a very small extent, the risk of myopia at a young age (up to age 13 years) was significantly increased.Although the frequency of myopia varies between different ethnic groups, the refractive error proved to be a reliable predictor in all cases. Thus, mandatory vision testing would be relevant, the study authors concluded. Parents of children at higher risk could then provide more regular eye exams.