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Ophthalmology. 2014 Oct;121(10):2047-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.04.017. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Myopia and level of education: results from the Gutenberg Health Study.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany. Electronic address: alireza.mirshahi@unimedizin-mainz.de.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
3
Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
4
University Heart Center Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
5
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
6
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To analyze the association between myopia and educational level in an adult European cohort.

DESIGN:

Population-based cross-sectional study.

PARTICIPANTS:

A cohort of the Gutenberg Health Study, including 4658 eligible enrollees between 35 and 74 years of age.

METHODS:

We applied a standardized protocol entailing a comprehensive questionnaire; thorough ophthalmic, general, cardiovascular, and psychological examinations; and laboratory tests, including genetic analyses. We documented achievement levels in school education and post-school professional education. The spherical equivalent (SE) was determined by noncycloplegic autorefractometry. We fitted mixed linear models including age, gender, and 45 myopia-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) as covariates.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Prevalence and magnitude of myopia in association with years spent in school and level of post-school professional education.

RESULTS:

Individuals who graduated from school after 13 years were more myopic (median, -0.5 diopters [D]; first quartile [Q1]/third quartile [Q3], -2.1/0.3 D) than those who graduated after 10 years (median, -0.2 D; Q1/Q3, -1.3/0.8 D), than those who graduated after 9 years (median, 0.3 D; Q1/Q3, -0.6/1.4 D), and than those who never finished secondary school (median, 0.2 D; Q1/Q3, -0.5/1.8 D; P<0.001, respectively). The same holds true for persons with a university degree (median, -0.6 D; Q1/Q3, -2.3/0.3 D) versus those who finished secondary vocational school (median, 0 D; Q1/Q3, -1.1/0.8 D) or primary vocational school (median, 0 D; Q1/Q3, -0.9/1.1 D) versus persons without any post-school professional qualification (median, 0.6 D; Q1/Q3, -0.4/1.7 D; P<0.001, respectively). Of persons who graduated from school after 13 years, 50.9% were myopic (SE, ≤-0.5 D) versus 41.6%, 27.1%, and 26.9% after 10 years, in those who graduated after 9 years, and in those who never graduated from secondary school, respectively (P<0.001). In university graduates, the proportion of myopic persons was higher (53%) than that of those who graduated from secondary (34.8%) or primary (34.7%) vocational schools and than in those without any professional training (23.9%; P<0.001, respectively). In multivariate analyses: higher school and professional levels of education were associated with a more myopic SE independent of gender. There was a small effect of age and SNPs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Higher levels of school and post-school professional education are associated with a more myopic refraction. Participants with higher educational achievements more often were myopic than individuals with less education.

PMID:
24947658
DOI:
10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.04.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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