Purpose: To assess the prevalence, distribution, and demographic associations of refractive error in an urban population in southern India.
Methods: Two thousand five hundred twenty-two subjects of all ages, representative of the Hyderabad population, were examined in the population-based Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study. Objective and subjective refraction was attempted on subjects >15 years of age with presenting distance and/or near visual acuity worse than 20/20 in either eye. Refraction under cycloplegia was attempted on all subjects < or =15 years of age. Spherical equivalent >0.50 D in the worse eye was considered as refractive error. Data on objective refraction under cycloplegia were analyzed for subjects < or =15 years and on subjective refraction were analyzed for subjects >15 years of age.
Results: Data on refractive error were available for 2,321 (92.0%) subjects. In subjects < or =15 years of age, age-gender-adjusted prevalence of myopia was 4.44% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.14%-6.75%), which was higher in those 10 to 15 years of age (odds ratio, 2.75; 95% CI, 1.25-6.02), of hyperopia 59.37% (95% CI, 44.65%-74.09%), and of astigmatism 6.93% (95% CI, 4.90%-8.97%). In subjects >15 years of age, age-gender-adjusted prevalence of myopia was 19.39% (95% CI, 16.54%-22.24%), of hyperopia 9.83% (95% CI, 6.21%-13.45%), and of astigmatism 12.94% (95% CI, 10.80%-15.07%). With multivariate analysis, myopia was significantly higher in subjects with Lens Opacity Classification System HI nuclear cataract grade > or =3.5 (odds ratio, 9.10; 95% CI, 5.15-16.09), and in subjects with education of class 11 or higher (odds ratio, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.18-2.74); hyperopia was significantly higher in subjects > or =30 years of age compared with those 16 to 29 years of age (odds ratio, 37.26; 95% CI, 11.84-117.19), in females (odds ratio, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.33-2.61), and in subjects belonging to middle and upper socioeconomic strata (odds ratio, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.09-4.03); and astigmatism was significantly higher in subjects > or =40 years of age (odds ratio, 3.00; 95% CI, 2.23- 4.03) and in those with education of college level or higher (odds ratio, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.07-2.81).
Conclusions: These population-based data on distribution and demographic associations of refractive error could enable planning of eye-care services to reduce visual impairment caused by refractive error. If these data are extrapolated to the 255 million urban population of India, among those >15 years of age an estimated 30 million people would have myopia, 15.2 million hyperopia, and 4.1 million astigmatism not concurrent with myopia or hyperopia; in addition, based on refraction under cycloplegia, 4.4 million children would have myopia and 2.5 million astigmatism not concurrent with myopia or hyperopia.