Physical exertion (lifting) and retinal detachment among people with myopia

Epidemiology. 2008 Nov;19(6):868-71. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e318187a7da.


Background: People with myopia (near sightedness) are at increased risk for retinal detachment. We explored other factors that may be associated with retinal detachment within this high-risk group.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study comprising 61 cases with retinal detachment and myopia and 99 hospital controls who also had myopia. Cases were recruited from a general hospital, and controls from ophthalmologic clinics. Participants compiled a questionnaire including details of past and current occupational lifting tasks to explore Valsalva maneuver as a possible risk factor. We devised a cumulative lifting index to distinguish light and heavy lifting.

Results: After adjusting for potential confounders, we found strong associations of retinal detachment with eye surgery, eye or head trauma, severe myopia (all known risk factors), and heavy lifting (vs. no lifting, odds ratio = 4.4 [95% confidence interval = 1.5-13]) and high body mass index (>or=25.5 kg/m, 6.8 [1.6-29]).

Conclusions: Heavy occupational lifting and being overweight may be important risk factors for retinal detachment among people with myopia. The role of these risk factors in the etiology of retinal detachment deserves to be explored in more general populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lifting / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / complications*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology*