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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Dec;51(12):6270-6. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-5528. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia and ocular biometry in 10- and 11-year-old children: the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE).

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  • 1Division of Community Health Sciences, St. George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom. arudnick@sgul.ac.uk



Ethnic differences in childhood prevalence of myopia have not been well characterized in the United Kingdom. In this study, ethnic differences in refractive status and ocular biometry were examined in a multiethnic sample of British children.


This was a cross-sectional study of 10- and 11-year-old school children of South Asian, black African Caribbean, and white European ethnic origin. Vision, open-field autorefraction (without cycloplegia), and ocular biometry were measured in each eye. Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent refraction of -0.50 D with unaided vision of 20/30 or worse (in one or both eyes). Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia were examined by using logistic regression, and multiple linear regression was used for ethnic differences in ocular biometry. All models were adjusted for age, sex, and clustering within school.


Data were available for 1179 children. The prevalence of myopia was 25.2%, 10.0%, and 3.4%, respectively, in the South Asian, black African Caribbean, and white European children. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of myopia compared with the white European children were 8.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.0 to 19.4) in the South Asian and 3.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 7.2) in black African Caribbean children. Ethnic differences in the prevalence of myopia were largely accounted for by ethnic differences in axial length. The South Asian and black African Caribbean children had longer axial lengths (0.44 mm; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.57 mm and 0.30 mm; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.44 mm, respectively).


Among British children exposed to the same schooling environment, the South Asians had the highest prevalence of myopia, followed by the black African Caribbeans compared with the white Europeans. A quarter of British South Asian children were myopic, which is strongly related to increased axial length.

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