Delaying myopia onset by 1 year has the potential to lower final myopia level by 0.75 diopters (D) or more among individuals of Eastern Asian ethnicity, according to a study published in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics. While individuals belonging to other ethnic groups may benefit from delayed myopia onset, it may not result in as much of a final myopia reduction.
Researchers extracted data from 3 prospective myopia progression studies in East Asia and the United States, 4 retrospective studies in Finland, India, the Netherlands, and Japan and 2 cross-sectional studies in Argentina and the UK. Lastly, a longitudinal study of myopes from Finland, originally recruited for a clinical trial and followed into adulthood, was included in the analysis. The final recorded myopia level was plotted as a function of age of onset for all studies.
Investigators report slopes between 0.68 and 0.97 diopter (D) per year for the 3 East Asian studies, indicating between 0.68 and 0.97 D less myopia at the final recorded refraction with each year of delayed onset.
For 6 of the 7 non-East Asian studies, the slopes are substantially flatter — between 0.23 and 0.50D per year. Participants in the study from Finland, however, deviated from individuals in other European cohorts with a slope of 0.87 D/year. An increase in the age of final recorded refraction was associated with a higher level of myopia.
“Given the evolving understanding of the relationship between the level of myopia and visual impairment, efforts should be directed at both delaying its onset and slowing its progression,” according to the researchers. “The data presented here suggest that delaying myopia onset can be important in lowering the ultimate myopia level in all children but particularly East Asian children.”
Study limitations include the use of different methods in determining the age of myopia onset across studies and possible selection bias in the study consisting of individuals from Finland.
Disclosure: Both study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or clinical research organizations. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’
Bullimore MA, Brennan NA. Myopia: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Published online October 5, 2022. doi:10.1111/opo.13058