Researchers have found that the incidence of myopia among Chinese students based on refraction without cycloplegia is among the highest of any cultural or ethnic group.          

The observational cohort study examined the incidence of myopia and high myopia based on refraction without cycloplegia among 4,741 children from 19 primary schools and 22 junior high schools in the city of Guangzhou, China.

The baseline prevalence of myopia was 12% in first grade students and 67.4% in seventh grade students. The incidence of myopia was 20% to 30% each year throughout both the primary school cohort (grades one to six) and the junior high school cohort (grades seven to nine), based on refraction without cycloplegia. The incidence of high myopia was initially less than 1% in the primary school cohort, but exceeded 2% in the junior high school cohort.

Researchers believe that myopia has reached epidemic levels among children in regions of East and Southeast Asia. High myopia is associated with myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal detachment.

The study concludes that, if the condition is confirmed in these children by cycloplegic refraction, interventions to prevent myopia onset should be initiated in primary schools.

 Wang SK, Guo Y, Liao C, et al. Incidence of and factors associated with myopia and high myopia in Chinese children, based on refraction without cycloplegia. JAMA Ophthalmol. July 5, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].