Two-year changes in refractive error and related biometric factors in an adult Chinese population

Mingguang He, Xiangbin Kong, Qianyun Chen, Yangfa Zeng, Yuanzhou Huang, Jian Zhang, Ian G. Morgan, Mirjam E. Meltzer, Ling Jin, Nathan Congdon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: This article provides, to our knowledge, the first longitudinal population-based data on refractive error (RE) in Chinese persons.

Objective: To study cohort effects and changes associated with aging in REs among Chinese adults.

Design, Setting, and Participants: A 2-year, longitudinal population-based cohort study was conducted in southern China. Participants, identified using cluster random sampling, included residents of Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, China, aged 35 years or older who had undergone no previous eye surgery.

Methods: Participants underwent noncycloplegic automated refraction and keratometry in December 2008 and December 2010; in a random 50% sample of the participants, anterior segment ocular coherence tomography measurement of lens thickness, as well as measurement of axial length and anterior chamber depth by partial coherence laser interferometry, were performed.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Two-year change in spherical equivalent refraction (RE), lens thickness, axial length, and anterior chamber depth in the right eye.

Results: A total of 745 individuals underwent biometric testing in both 2008 and 2010 (2008 mean [SD] age, 52.2 [11.5] years; 53.7% women). Mean RE showed a 2-year hyperopic shift from −0.44 (2.21) to −0.31 (2.26) diopters (D) (difference, +0.13; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.16). A consistent 2-year hyperopic shift of 0.09 to 0.22 D was observed among participants aged 35 to 64 years when stratifying by decade, suggesting that a substantial change in RE with aging may occur during this 30-year period. Cross-sectionally, RE increased only in the cohort younger than 50 years (0.11 D/y; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.16). In the cross-sectional data, axial length decreased at −0.06 mm/y (95% CI, −0.09 to −0.04), although the 2-year change in axial length was positive and thus could not explain the cross-sectional difference. These latter results suggest a cohort effect, with greater myopia developing among younger persons.

Conclusions and Relevance: This first Chinese population-based longitudinal study of RE provides evidence for both important longitudinal aging changes and cohort effects, most notably greater myopia prevalence among younger persons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-984
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Ophthalmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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