Prevalence of Myopia and Its Risk Factors in Urban School Children in Delhi

The North India Myopia Study (NIM Study)

Citation: Saxena R, Vashist P, Tandon R, Pandey RM, Bhardawaj A, et al. (2015) Prevalence of Myopia and Its Risk Factors in Urban School Children in Delhi: The North India Myopia Study (NIM Study). PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117349. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117349
Published: February 26, 2015

Purpose: Assess prevalence of myopia and identify associated risk factors in urban school children.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study screening children for sub-normal vision and refractive errors in Delhi. Vision was tested by trained health workers using ETDRS charts. Risk factor questionnaire was filled for children with vision <6/9.5, wearing spectacles and for a subset (10%) of randomly selected children with normal vision. All children with vision <6/9.5 underwent cycloplegic refraction. The prevalence of myopia <-0.5 diopters was assessed. Association of risk factors and prevalence of myopia was analyzed for children with myopia and randomly selected non myopic children and adjusted odds ratio values for all risk factors were estimated.
Results: A total number of 9884 children were screened with mean age of 11.6 + 2.2 years and 66.8% boys. Prevalence of myopia was 13.1% with only 320 children (24.7%) wearing appropriate spectacles. Mean myopic spherical error was -1.86 + 1.4 diopters. Prevalence of myopia was higher in private schools compared to government schools (p<0.001), in girls vs. boys (p = 0.004) and among older (>11 years) children (p<0.001). There was a positive association of myopia with studying in private schools vs. government schools (p<0.001), positive family history (p<0.001) and higher socio-economic status (p = 0.037). Positive association of presence of myopia was observed with children studying/reading >5 hours per day (p <0.001), watching television >2 hours / day (p < 0.001) and with playing computer/video/mobile games (p < 0.001). An inverse association with outdoor activities/playing was observed with children playing > 2 hours in a day.
Conclusion: Myopia is a major health problem in Indian school children. It is important to identify modifiable risk factors associated with its development and try to develop cost effective intervention strategies.


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