Refractive Surgery - Epidemiology

A large population-based study of people aged 4 to 74 years in the U.S. showed that 43% had low myopia (less than -5 diopters), 3.2% had high myopia (-5 to -10 diopters), and 0.2% had extreme myopia (more than -10 diopters). In Asian populations these proportions may be much higher and in African and Pacific island groups, much lower. In Melbourne, Australia, they found the prevalence of low myopia was 21%, high myopia 2%, and extreme myopia 0.3%.

It is more difficult to specify the prevalence of hyperopia due to variations in its definition by researchers and because it is age related. Most full-term infants are mildly hyperopic (approximately +2.00 D), while premature infants and those of low birthweight tend to be either less hyperopic or myopic (approximately +0.24 D). The prevalence of refractive error among full-term infants has a normal bell-shaped distribution. Approximately 4-9 percent of infants 6-9 months old have hyperopia greater than +3.25 D; the prevalence of hyperopia (> +3.25 D) to 3.6 percent in the 1-year-old population.
Higher levels of astigmatism are associated with moderate to high hyperopia during infancy, but both tend to decrease by the age of 5 years. Although at this age the prevalence of refractive error is reduced, its distribution still peaks toward mild hyperopia. Over the next 10-15 years of life, there is a further decrease in the prevalence of hyperopia and an increase in the frequency of myopia. With the development of presbyopia, latent hyperopia becomes manifest, contributing to an apparent increase in the prevalence of hyperopia. There is no known gender difference in the prevalence of hyperopia, but there is evidence of the influence of ethnicity on the prevalence of hyperopia. Native Americans, African Americans, and Pacific Islanders are among the groups with the highest reported prevalence of hyperopia. A study of 1,880 Chinese schoolchildren in Malaysia showed that the prevalence of hyperopia greater than +1.25 D was only 1.2 percent.

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