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Myopia in school-aged children with preterm birth: the roles of time spent outdoors and serum vitamin D


Aims To analyse the factors associated with myopia in school-aged children with preterm birth and with or without retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Methods Children born prematurely between January 2010 and December 2011 were enrolled in this cross-sectional study when they reached school age between April 2017 and June 2018 in a referral centre. The main parameters were cycloplegic refraction, time spent outdoors and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration.

Results A total of 99 eyes from 99 children with a mean age of 6.8 years underwent analysis. The average time spent outdoors was significantly higher in the non-myopic group (0.9 ± 0.5 hours/day) than in the myopic group (0.7 ± 0.3 hours/day) (p = 0.032). After adjustment for age, sex, number of myopic parents, ROP severity, near-work time and serum 25(OH)D concentration, more time spent outdoors was correlated with a lower odds of myopia (OR, 0.13 per additional hour per day; 95% CI, 0.02–0.98; p = 0.048). Mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations were similar between the myopic and non-myopic groups (49.7 ± 13.6 and 48.8 ± 14.0 nmol/mL; p = 0.806) and were not correlated with spherical equivalence power (r = −0.09; p = 0.418). Vitamin D insufficiency was present in 57% of the participants.

Conclusions Among preterm children with or without ROP, more time spent outdoors was associated with lower odds of myopia. The serum 25(OH)D concentration was not associated with myopia, but a high proportion of the participants had insufficient levels.

  • child health (paediatrics)
  • optics and refraction
  • public health
  • retina
  • vision

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