Pandemic lockdown may be linked with myopic shift for children

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A significant myopic shift was found in children between the ages of 6 and 8 years possible associated with home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology.

To investigate refractive changes and prevalence of myopia in children during the COVID-19 lockdown, a prospective cross-sectional study using school-based photoscreenings of 123,535 children aged 6 to 13 years with a total of 194,904 test results, was undertaken.

Compared with previous years, the 2020 school-based photoscreenings of children aged 6 to 8 years had a substantial myopic shift (approximately −0.3 diopters [D]).

In the 2020 photoscreenings, myopia prevalence was also higher than the highest prevalence within 2015-2019 for children aged 6 (21.5% vs 5.7%), 7 (26.2% vs 16.2%), and 8 (37.2% vs 27.7%) years.

“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,” the authors concluded.

Wang J, Li Y, Musch DC, et al. Progression of Myopia in School-Aged Children After COVID-19 Home Confinement. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021; doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.6239

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