Background: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of refractive errors among young and middle-aged adults in Norway.
Material and methods: Refractive errors were measured with an autorefractor in a population-based sample of young (20-25 years) and middle-aged (40-45 years) adults participating in a health study (HUNT) conducted in Nord-Trøndelag county in Norway in 1996-97.
Results: A total of 3137 persons (1248 young and 1889 middle-aged adults) with corrected visual acuity >0.5 (in either eye) were included. About half of the population (51.8% among the young and 52.3% among the middle-aged adults) were emmetropic. The prevalence of myopia was 35.0% in the young adult group and 30.3% in the middle-aged group. Myopia was significantly higher in women aged 20-25 years (36.4%) than in men aged 40-45 years (28.1%). Prevalence of hyperopia increased with age from 13.2% (20-25 years) to 17.4% (40-45 years).
Interpretation: The results show a relative high prevalence of myopia in the general population of Norway.