Article-512805

April 28, 2008

Myopia is more prevalent in African-American preschoolers than in Hispanic preschoolers, according to research presented by Kristina Tarczy-Hornoch, MD, PhD, in a session about pediatric eye diseases.

Myopia is more prevalent in African-American preschoolers than in Hispanic preschoolers, according to research presented by Kristina Tarczy-Hornoch, MD, PhD, in a session about pediatric eye diseases.

An "interesting" finding of the study, she said, was that, unlike in school-aged children, the incidence of myopia in the preschoolers was found not to increase with increasing age. Instead, it was found to be more frequent in those aged fewer than 3 years than in older preschool children. The researchers said that this finding may reflect active emmetropization in the first few years of life.

Dr. Tarczy-Hornoch, of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, discussed findings from one neighborhood and two of the four racial/ethnic groups studied in the Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study in her presentation. She and colleagues undertook this research to determine the prevalence of myopia by age, gender, and ethnicity in Hispanic and African-American children aged 6 to 72 months.

The population-based cohort of children underwent autorefraction 30 to 60 minutes after cycloplegia with two drops of 1% cyclopentolate administered 5 minutes apart from one another. Children aged 12 or fewer months received two drops of 0.5% cyclopentolate. Those preschoolers who refused drops underwent noncycloplegic retinoscopy. Succussful autorefraction was performed in 2,686 Hispanic children and 2,713 African-American children.

The investigators defined myopia as 1 D spherical equivalent refractive error or more in the worse eye.

Refractive error was measured in 3,024 Hispanic preschoolers and 2,993 African-American preschoolers.

"The myopia prevalence in every age group was higher in the African-American children than in the Hispanic children," Dr. Tarczy-Hornoch said. "There was no significant difference in myopia prevalence between boys and girls in either ethnic group after adjusting for age."