Ocular disease and refractive errors are prevalent among children and adolescents with mental disorders, according to research published in BMC Ophthalmology. These individuals may benefit from frequent ophthalmic examinations to provide early detection and treatment, the report suggests.
Researchers included patients with mental disorders (n=178; 92 girls; mean age, 14.25 years) and age- and sex-matched control group participants consisting of individuals without a diagnosed mental disorder (n=200; 105 girls; mean age, 13.65 years) in the analysis. Participants underwent either cycloplegic (age younger than 15 years; n=224) or noncycloplegic refraction (age 15 years or older; n=154), retinoscopy, biomicroscopy, dilated fundus exam, and ocular alignment assessment. The research team investigated the prevalence of refractive errors and ocular disease among the cohort.
Overall, 27% of pediatric patients with mental disorders had an ocular finding compared with 8% of control group participants. The most common ocular disorders were conjunctivitis, keratitis, and trichiasis and prevalence was higher among individuals with mental disorders compared with control group participants for each condition (13% vs 5%; 7% vs 2%; 4% vs 2%, respectively).
Patients with mental disorders were more likely to have strabismus (P <.05) and amblyopia (P <.01) compared with individuals in the control group. Stratified according to mental disorder, patients with mental retardation (odds ratio [OR], 3.286), emotional disorders (OR, 2.003), and adjustment disorders (OR, 2.629) had an increased risk of amblyopia (P <.01 for all). Depression (OR, 1.362; P <.01) and emotional disorders (OR, 2.205; P <.01) correlated with a higher strabismus prevalence.
Both individuals with and without mental disorders had a high prevalence of myopia (70% for each) with no significant differences noted between the 2 cohorts.
“Detection and intervention of ocular and refractive findings in children and adolescents with [mental disorders] are necessary and effective in alleviating the economic burden in healthcare and improving individuals’ quality of life,” according to the study authors. “Further, there should be increased awareness among psychiatrists about the surge in refractive errors and ophthalmologic abnormalities in children with [mental disorders].”
Study limitations include a single center design and retrospective nature.
Chen L, Sun L, Xue C, et al. Refractive errors and ocular findings in children and adolescents with mental disorders: a retrospective study. BMC Ophthalmol. Published online January 3, 2023. doi:10.1186/s12886-022-02704-4