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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Childhood Exposure to Constricted Living Space: A Possible Environmental Threat for Myopia Development

AUTHOR:

Kai Yip Choi, Wing Yan Yu, Christie Hang I Lam, Zhe Chuang Li, Man Pan Chin, Yamunadevi Lakshmanan, Francisca Siu Yin Wong, Chi Wai Do, Paul Hong Lee and Henry Ho Lung Chan

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

The Centre for Myopia Research, School of Optometry, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, and 2 School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2017

PUBLICATION:

Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, The Journal of the College of Optometrists

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • People in Hong Kong generally live in a densely populated area and their homes are smaller compared with most other cities worldwide. Interestingly, East Asian cities with high population densities seem to have higher myopia prevalence, but the association between them has not been established.

  • This study investigated whether the crowded habitat in Hong Kong is associated with refractive error among children.

  • Local primary school children ages 7 to 12 years were recruited for vision screening from 8 schools in Hong Kong political districts according to their population densities. A total of 1075 students participated in the analysis.

  • The study concluded that there was an association between childhood refractive error and living environment, in terms of the size of home and the population density of the residential area. The study speculates small homes and densely populated residential areas may be new types of ‘visual pollutants’ that associate with the high prevalence of myopia.