Prevalence of Myopia and Associated Risk Factors in Schoolchildren in North India

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SIGNIFICANCEStudies reporting the prevalence and associated risk factors of myopia among schoolchildren in India are limited. Knowledge about the prevalence and the modifiable risk factors associated with myopia development will help in planning cost-effective strategies to prevent its progression in India.PURPOSEThe purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence and associated behavioral risk factors of myopia in schoolchildren in Gurugram, Haryana, in north India.METHODSThis cross-sectional study was conducted on schoolchildren (aged 5 to 15 years) from two private schools in Gurugram. Visual acuity was measured using the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart. Myopia was defined as the spherical equivalent refractive error of at least −0.50 D in the better eye. Information on the child's habits and lifestyle, study hours, hours of playing video games, and outdoor playtime were obtained using a questionnaire. Association of behavioral risk factors was analyzed for children with and without myopia, and adjusted odds ratio (OR) for each factor was estimated.RESULTSA total of 1234 children (mean ± SD age, 10.5 ± 3 years; 59% boys) were screened. Myopia prevalence was found to be 21.1% (n = 261; mean ± SD age, 11 ± 2 years; 52% boys). The mean ± SD myopic spherical error was −1.94 ± 0.92 D. The prevalence of myopia was found to be higher (27%; 95% confidence interval, 23 to 30.6; OR, 3.19 [2.13 to 4.76]) among older children (9 to 12 years). Prevalence of myopia was more in boys (25%; 95% confidence interval, 21.1 to 28.8) compared with girls (P < .01). A positive association of presence of myopia was observed with children studying more than 4 hours per day (P < .008) and with children playing computer/video/mobile games more than 2 hours per day (P < .001). A protective effect was observed in children with outdoor activities/play for more than 1.5 hours per day (OR, 0.01 [0.00 to 0.06]).CONCLUSIONSMyopia is a major public health concern, and its prevalence is increasing rapidly among schoolchildren in India. There is a pressing need to develop cost-effective strategies to prevent this cause of vision impairment, which can be easily treated with optical interventions.

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