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Risk factors associated with myopia in schoolchildren in Ireland
  1. Siofra Christine Harrington1,
  2. Jim Stack2,
  3. Veronica O'Dwyer1
  1. 1 School of Physics and Clinical and Optometric Sciences, Technological University Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Siofra Christine Harrington, School of Physics & Clinical & Optometric Sciences, College of Sciences and Health, Technological University Dublin, Dublin D08 NF82, Ireland; siofra.harrington{at}


Aim To examine the demographic and social factors associated with myopia in schoolchildren in Ireland.

Methods Thirty-seven schools participated, representing a mix of urban and rural schools and schools in socioeconomically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged areas in Ireland. Examination included cyclopleged autorefraction (1% cyclopentolate hydrochloride). Height and weight of participants were measured. Parents filled in a participant’s lifestyle questionnaire, including questions on daily screen time use and daylight exposure. Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent ≤−0.50 D.

Results Data from 1626 participants (881 boys, 745 girls) in two age groups, 6–7 years (728) and 12–13 years (898), were examined. Myopia prevalence was significantly higher in children aged 12–13 years old (OR=7.7, 95%CI 5.1 to 11.6, p<0.001) and significantly associated with non-white ethnicity (OR=3.7, 95% CI 2.5 to 5.3, p<0.001). Controlling for age group and ethnicity, myopia prevalence was also significantly linked with height (p<0.001) and higher in participants in the following groups: using screens >3 hours per day (OR=3.7, 95% CI 2.1 to 6.3, p<0.001), obesity (OR=2.7, 95% CI 1.9 to 3.9, p<0.001), sedentary lifestyle (OR=2.9, 95% CI 1.9 to 4.4, p<0.001), frequently reading/writing (OR=2.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 3.5, p=0.001), less daylight exposure during summer time (OR=5.00, 95% CI 2.4 to 10.3, p<0.001), spring season births (OR=1.9, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.3, p=0.02), paternal history of myopia (OR=2.4, 95% CI 1.8 to 3.3, p<0.001) and bottle fed for the first three months of life (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.5, p=0.02).

Conclusions The associations found between myopia prevalence in schoolchildren in Ireland and demographic and lifestyle factors suggest that longitudinal research investigating the associations between myopia prevalence and these factors may be beneficial in advising preventative public health programmes.

  • myopia
  • schoolchildren
  • risk factors
  • Ireland

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  • Contributors All authors (SCH, JS and VO’D) contributed to the conception and design of this work. All authors were involved in drafting, critically reviewing and approval of the final version to be published.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Technological University Dublin Fiosraigh grant, the Opticians Board and the Association of Optometrists Ireland.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Technological University Dublin Research Ethics Committee granted ethics approval, and the study was carried out in compliance with the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

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

  • Data sharing statement No additional unpublished data from the study are available.

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