Epidemiology of myopia in a United Kingdom urban child population

  • Parth Shah

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The Aston Eye Study (AES) was instigated in October 2005 to determine the distribution of refractive error and associated ocular biometry in a sample of UK urban school children. The AES is the first study to compare outcome measures separately in White, South Asian and Black children. Children were selected from two age groups (Year 2 children aged 6/7 years, Year8 children aged 12/13 years of age) using random cluster sampling of schools in Birmingham, West Midlands UK.
To date, the AES has examined 598 children (302 Year 2,296 Year 8). Using open-field cycloplegic autorefraction, the overall prevalence of myopia (=-0.50D SER in either eye) determined was 19.6%, with a higher prevalence in older (29.4%) compared to younger (9.9%) children (p<0.001). Using multiple logistic regression models, the risk of myopia was higher in Year 8 South Asian compared to White children and higher in children attending grammar schools relative to comprehensive schools. In addition, the prevalence of uncorrected ametropia was found to be high (Year 8: 12.84%, Year 2: 15.23%), which will be of concern to bodies responsible for the implementation of school vision screening strategies.
Biometric data using non-contact partial coherence interferometry revealed a contributory effect of axial length (AL) and central corneal radius (CR) on myopic refraction, resulting in a strong coefficient of determination of the AL/CR ratio on refractive error. Ocular biometric measures did not vary significantly as a function of ethnicity, suggesting a greater miscorrelation of components in susceptible ethnic groups to account for their higher myopia prevalence. Corneal radius was found to be steeper in myopes in both age groups, but was found to flatten with increasing axial length. Due to the inextricable link between myopia and axial elongation, the paradoxical finding of the cornea demands further longitudinal investigation, particularly in relation to myopia onset.
Questionnaire analysis revealed a history of myopia in parents and siblings to be significantly associated with myopia in Year 8 children, with a dose-dependent rise in the odds ratio of myopia evident with increasing number of myopic parents. By classifying socioeconomic status (SES) using Index of Multiple Deprivation values, it was found that Year 8 children from moderately deprived backgrounds were more at risk of myopia compared with children located at both extremities of the deprivation spectrum. However, the main effect of SES weakened following multivariate analysis, with South Asian ethnicity and grammar schooling remaining associated with Year 8 myopia after adjustment.
Date of AwardNov 2007
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard Gilmartin (Supervisor) & Nicola Logan (Supervisor)


  • Epidemiology
  • myopia
  • refractive error
  • ocular biometry
  • prevalence

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