AIMS: To investigate the prevalence and predictors of pseudomyopia in Chinese children and its association with myopia progression.
METHODS: A prospective, school-based, cohort study of 6- and 13-year-old children was conducted in Anyang, China. Pre-cycloplegic and post-cycloplegic autorefraction were performed at baseline and 1 year later. Pseudomyopia was defined as spherical equivalent refractive (SER) error in the better-seeing eye ≤-0.50 D before cycloplegia and >-0.50 D after cycloplegia. Among pseudomyopic children, pseudomyopic power was defined as non-cycloplegic SER subtracted from cycloplegic SER. Market survey was collected in all optometry stores in Anyang city to investigate how cycloplegia is used for refracting children.
RESULTS: A total of 2612 children aged 6 years and 1984 children aged 13 years were included. Of the two cohorts, median cycloplegic SER (IQR) was 1.00 D (0.50, 1.38) and -1.13 D (-2.63, 0.13) respectively, myopia prevalence was 5.2% and 61.0%, pseudomyopia prevalence was 24.1% and 18.9%, and median pseudomyopic power was 1.13 D (0.63, 1.63) and 0.38 D (0.13, 0.88). In both cohorts, greater baseline hyperopia was the strongest predictor of pseudomyopia (p<0.001), whereas time spent on near work was not associated with pseudomyopic power (p>0.05). After 1 year, 15.6% (98/629) of 6-year-olds and 10.7% (40/374) of 13-year-olds with pseudomyopia developed myopia. Compared with myopes, pseudomyopic children with the same pre-cycloplegic SER had slower myopic progression (p<0.001). Among all 127 optometry stores in Anyang, only 4 (3.15%) used cycloplegia for refracting children.
CONCLUSION: Pseudomyopia is more prevalent in younger, more hyperopic children. Pseudomyopia is not an independent risk factor for myopic progression in this setting.