The changing prevalence of myopia in young adults: a 13-year series of population-based prevalence surveys

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Aug;46(8):2760-5. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0260.


Purpose: To determine the changing prevalence of myopia during the years 1990 through 2002 among the 16- to 22-year age group and identify possible risk factors.

Methods: A retrospective study, based on 13 repeated prevalence surveys conducted over a 13-year period. The study subjects were all Israeli nationals belonging to the 16- to 22-year age group from the years 1990 to 2002. Refraction was determined by using subjective visual acuity followed by noncycloplegic autorefraction and subjective validation based on the autorefraction

Results: Mild myopia was defined as a refractive error of -0.50 to -3.00 D in at least one eye, moderate myopia as -3.25 to -6.00 D, and high myopia as more than -6.00 D. results. There were 919,929 subjects (382,139 [42%] females and 537,790 [58%] males) included in the study. The overall prevalence of myopia increased from 20.3% in 1990 to 28.3% in 2002. The prevalence of high, moderate, and mild myopia significantly increased in males from 1.7%, 5.7%, and 11.6% in 1990 to 2.05%, 7.2%, and 16.3% in 2002, respectively (P < 0.001). In females, the prevalence of myopia increased from 1.9%, 6.6%, and 13.5% in 1990 to 2.4%, 9.2%, and 20.7% in 2002, respectively (P < 0.001). A correlation between myopia and the number of years of education was observed. Non-Israeli origin was found to be a significant risk factor for myopia.

Conclusions: During the 13 years from 1990 to 2002, the prevalence of myopia significantly increased among the Israeli population. Although there was an association with the level of education, gender, ethnicity, and origin, the prevalence of myopia increased on an annual basis, independent of these factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Myopia / classification
  • Myopia / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Visual Acuity