Clinical characteristics of unilateral myopic anisometropia in a juvenile optometric practice population

Jonathan S. Pointer*, Bernard Gilmartin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: A retrospective study of longitudinal case histories, undertaken to establish the clinical and statistical characteristics of unilateral myopic anisometropia (UMA) amongst the juvenile and adolescent population at an optometric practice, is reported. UMA was defined as that specific refractive state where an unequivocally myopic eye is paired with a 'piano' [spherical equivalent refraction, (SER) = ±0.25 Dioptres (D)] companion eye. Methods: The clinical records of all patients aged <19 years on file at an established independent optometric practice were categorised as 'myopic' (SER ≤-0.50 D), 'hypermetropie' (≥+0.75 D) or 'emmetropic' (≥-0.37≤+0.62 D). Subsequently all juvenile patients matching the UMA criterion, together with a case-matched group of bilaterally myopic individuals, were selected as the comparative study populations. Results: A total of 14.4% (n = 21 of 146) of the juvenile myopic case histories were identified as cases of UMA. More than half of these UMA cases emerged between the ages of 11.5 and 13.5 years. There was a marked female gender bias. The linear gradient of the age-related mean refractive trend in the myopic eye of the UMA population was not statistically significantly different (p > 0.1) to that fitted to the ametropic progression recorded in either eye of the case-matched population of young bilateral myopes; uniquely the slope associated with the companion eye of UMA cases was statistically significantly (p < 0.025) less steep. Compared with bilateral myopes fewer cases of UMA required a refractive correction to relieve visual or asthenopic symptoms, and this initial correction was dispensed on average 1 year later (at age 12.7 years) in UMA patients. Conclusions: Individuals identified as demonstrating clinically-defined UMA can be considered as distinct but functionally normal cases on the continuum of human refractive error. However, any unilaterally-acting determining factor(s) underlying the genesis of the condition remain obscure. © 2004 The College of Optometrists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-463
Number of pages6
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


  • adolescent
  • juvenile
  • myopia
  • optometric practice population
  • unilateral myopic anisometropia


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