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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Increased Prevalence of Myopia in the United States Between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004

AUTHOR:

Vitale S, Sperduto RD, Ferris FL 3rd.

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

The National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Intramural Research Program of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2009

PUBLICATION:

Arch Ophthalmol

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The goal of this study was to examine whether the prevalence of myopia in the United States had changed during the 30 years between the 1971-1972 and 1999-2004.

  • The 1971-1972 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES) provided the earliest nationally representative estimates for US myopia prevalence; myopia was diagnosed by an algorithm using either lensometry, pinhole visual acuity, and presenting visual acuity (for presenting visual acuity > or =20/40) or retinoscopy (for presenting visual acuity < or =20/50).

  • Using a similar method for diagnosing myopia, the sutdy examined data from the 1999-2004 (NHNES) to determine whether myopia prevalence had changed during the 30 years between the 2 surveys.

  • Using the 1971-1972 method, the estimated prevalence of myopia in persons aged 12 to 54 years was significantly higher in 1999-2004 than in 1971-1972 (41.6% vs 25.0%, respectively; P < .001).

  • Prevalence estimates were higher in 1999-2004 than in 1971-1972 for black individuals (33.5% vs 13.0%, respectively; P < .001) and white individuals (43.0% vs 26.3%, respectively; P < .001) and for all levels of myopia severity (>-2.0 diopters [D].

  • The study concluded that when using similar methods for each period, the prevalence of myopia in the United States appears to be substantially higher in 1999-2004 than 30 years earlier.

  • It also concludes that identifying modifiable risk factors for myopia could lead to the development of cost-effective interventional strategies.