Myopia is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and young adults . Multiple epidemiological studies have confirmed a high prevalence of myopia in Asian countries. However, fewer longitudinal studies have been performed to evaluate the secular changes in the prevalence of myopia, especially high myopia in China. In the present study, we investigated trends in the prevalence of myopia among high school students in Fenghua city, eastern China, from 2001 to 2015.
This was a population-based, retrospective study. Data were collected among 43,858 third-year high school students. Noncycloplegic autorefraction was used to determine refractive error, which was defined as low myopia, moderate myopia, high myopia and very high myopia according to the spherical equivalent from the worse eye of each participant. The prevalence of myopia was calculated and the annual percentage change (APC) was used to quantify the time trends. All analyses were conducted using the SPSS, Stata and Graphpad Prism software.
From 2001 to 2015, the prevalence of overall myopia increased from 79.5% to 87.7% (APC =0.59%), with a significant increase of moderate myopia (38.8% to 45.7%, APC = 0.78%), high myopia (7.9% to 16.6%, APC = 5.48%) and very high myopia (0.08% to 0.92%, APC = 14.59%), while the prevalence of low myopia decreased from 32.7% to 24.4% (APC = − 1.73%). High myopia and very high myopia contributed the major part of the increasing trend of myopia prevalence (contribution rate 27.00% and 69.07%, respectively).
During the 15-year period, there was a remarkable increase in the prevalence of high and very high myopia among high school students, which might become a serious public health problem in China for the next few decades.