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Br J Ophthalmol 94:1012-1016 doi:10.1136/bjo.2009.173187
  • Clinical science

Family history, near work, outdoor activity, and myopia in Singapore Chinese preschool children

  1. Seang-Mei Saw1,3
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore
  4. 4Glaucoma Research Unit, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  5. 5Statistics Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  6. 6Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Alexandra Hospital, Singapore
  7. 7Eye Clinic, Jurong Medical Centre, Singapore
  8. 8Singapore International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore
  9. 9Department of Ophthalmology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  10. 10Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore
  11. 11Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  12. 12Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Seang-Mei Saw, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore 16 Medical Drive (MD3), Singapore 117597; ephssm{at}nus.edu.sg
  • Accepted 17 February 2010
  • Published Online First 14 May 2010

Abstract

Aims To investigate the risk factors for myopia, including near work and outdoor activity, in Singapore Chinese preschool children.

Methods A cross-sectional study, with disproportionate random sampling by 6-month age groups, of 3009 Singapore Chinese children aged 6–72 months was performed. Information on family history, near work and outdoor activity was obtained. Spherical equivalent refraction (SER) was assessed.

Results Children with two myopic parents were more likely to be myopic (adjusted OR=1.91; 95% CI 1.38 to 2.63) and to have a more myopic SER (regression coefficient=−0.35; 95% CI −0.47 to −0.22) than children without myopic parents. For each 1 cm taller height, the SER was more myopic by 0.01 dioptres. Neither near work nor outdoor activity was associated with preschool myopia.

Conclusions A family history of myopia was the strongest factor associated with preschool myopia. In contrast, neither near work nor outdoor activity was found to be associated with early myopia. These data suggest that genetic factors may play a more substantial role in the development of early-onset myopia than key environmental factors.

Footnotes

  • Funding The STARS project was funded by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC/1009/2005).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Institutional Review Boards of the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and the National Healthcare Group (NHG).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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