Effect of Myopic Undercorrection on Habitual Reading Distance in Schoolchildren: The Hong Kong Children Eye Study.

Springer Nature
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ophthalmol Ther, 2023, 12, (2), pp. 925-938
Issue Date:
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INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to evaluate the habitual reading distance among non-myopic children and also myopic children with undercorrection and with full correction. METHODS: This was a population-based cross-sectional study with a total of 2363 children aged 6-8 years who were recruited from the Hong Kong Children Eye Study. Cycloplegic autorefraction, subjective refraction, habitual visual acuity, and best corrected visual acuity were measured. The entire reading process (9 min) was recorded using a hidden video camera placed 5 m away from the reading desk. Reading distances were taken at 6, 7, 8, and 9 min after the child began reading and were measured using a customized computer program developed in MATLAB. The main outcome was the association of habitual reading distances with refraction status. Habitual reading distances of children were documented via video camera footage. RESULTS: The habitual reading distances of undercorrected myopic children (23.37 ± 4.31 cm) were the shortest when compared to non-myopic children (24.20 ± 4.73 cm, P = 0.002) and fully corrected myopic children (24.81 ± 5.21 cm, P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference between the last two children groups (P = 0.17). A shorter reading distance was associated with myopia (OR 1.67; 95% CI 1.11-2.51; P = 0.013) after adjusting for age, sex, height, near work time, outdoor time, and parental myopia. The association of reading distance with myopia did not hold after undercorrected myopic children were excluded (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.55-1.73; P = 0.92). A shorter reading distance correlated with poorer vision under habitual correction (β = - 0.003, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: A shorter reading distance was present among undercorrected myopic children. Myopia undercorrection is not recommended as a strategy for slowing myopic progression.
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