Survey of ophthalmic conditions in a Labrador community. I. Refractive errors.
Of the 745 available members of the population of Nain in Labrador 650 (87%) were screened for refractive errors and ocular disease. Refraction by retinoscopy was done in 553 and axial length measured by an optical method in 514. The results showed that the incidence of low degrees of myopia was higher in Inuit (Eskimos) and those of Mixed Inuit-Caucasian blood in the age groups 10 to 40 than in those over 40. 75% of the myopes came from 20 families in which myopia was present in 2 or more generations. Although there was no significant correlation between the refraction of parents and offspring, there were significant correlations between them for axial length. The axial lenths of the myopic eyes of the Inuit and Mixed populations were significantly longer than emmetropic and hypermetropic eyes. The younger memebers of the population were taller than their parents, and except in female Caucasians axial length showed a significant positive correlation with height. More myopes than emmetropes and hypermetropes achieved grade 8 or more in school. It is suggested that the increased incidence of myopia in the younger age groups might be due to environmental factors interfering with the process of emmetropisation in eyes with a genetic predisposition to myopia by virtue of inheriting a slightlt longer eye. Better nutrition resulting in an increase in stature may also have had some influence.