A new Chinese study has revealed a substantial myopic shift in primary school-aged children during Covid-19 home confinement.
The prospective, cross-sectional study by the Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital included 194,904 school-based photoscreening tests (conducted in 123,535 children, 52.1% boys). The results showed a substantial myopic shift (−0.3 diopters) in children aged six to eight years. The prevalence of myopia had also increased 1.4 to 3 times in 2020, compared with the previous five years. Findings also showed the differences in spherical equivalent refraction and the prevalence of myopia between 2020 and previous years were minimal in children aged nine to 13 years, suggesting younger children’s refractive status may be more sensitive to environmental changes than older ages, given the younger children are in a critical period for the development of myopia.
Authors urged for caution when interpreting these associations due to numerous limitations, including use of noncycloplegic refractions and lack of ortho-k history or ocular biometry data. Further studies were required to assess the generalisability of these findings and the long-term follow-up of these children, they said.
The study, Progression of Myopia in School-Aged Children After COVID-19 Home Confinement, was published by Jama Ophthalmology.