The child self-refraction study results from urban Chinese children in Guangzhou

Ophthalmology. 2011 Jun;118(6):1162-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.10.003. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Objective: To compare visual and refractive outcomes between self-refracting spectacles (Adaptive Eyecare, Ltd, Oxford, UK), noncycloplegic autorefraction, and cycloplegic subjective refraction.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Participants: Chinese school-children aged 12 to 17 years.

Methods: Children with uncorrected visual acuity ≤ 6/12 in either eye underwent measurement of the logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution visual acuity, habitual correction, self-refraction without cycloplegia, autorefraction with and without cycloplegia, and subjective refraction with cycloplegia.

Main outcome measures: Proportion of children achieving corrected visual acuity ≥ 6/7.5 with each modality; difference in spherical equivalent refractive error between each of the modalities and cycloplegic subjective refractive error.

Results: Among 556 eligible children of consenting parents, 554 (99.6%) completed self-refraction (mean age, 13.8 years; 59.7% girls; 54.0% currently wearing glasses). The proportion of children with visual acuity ≥ 6/7.5 in the better eye with habitual correction, self-refraction, noncycloplegic autorefraction, and cycloplegic subjective refraction were 34.8%, 92.4%, 99.5% and 99.8%, respectively (self-refraction versus cycloplegic subjective refraction, P<0.001). The mean difference between cycloplegic subjective refraction and noncycloplegic autorefraction (which was more myopic) was significant (-0.328 diopter [D]; Wilcoxon signed-rank test P<0.001), whereas cycloplegic subjective refraction and self-refraction did not differ significantly (-0.009 D; Wilcoxon signed-rank test P = 0.33). Spherical equivalent differed by ≥ 1.0 D in either direction from cycloplegic subjective refraction more frequently among right eyes for self-refraction (11.2%) than noncycloplegic autorefraction (6.0%; P = 0.002). Self-refraction power that differed by ≥ 1.0 D from cycloplegic subjective refractive error (11.2%) was significantly associated with presenting without spectacles (P = 0.011) and with greater absolute power of both spherical (P = 0.025) and cylindrical (P = 0.022) refractive error.

Conclusions: Self-refraction seems to be less prone to accommodative inaccuracy than noncycloplegic autorefraction, another modality appropriate for use in areas where access to eye care providers is limited. Visual results seem to be comparable. Greater cylindrical power is associated with less accurate results; the adjustable glasses used in this study cannot correct astigmatism. Further studies of the practical applications of this modality are warranted.

Financial disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Equipment Design
  • Eyeglasses*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology*
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology
  • Refractive Errors / therapy*
  • Urban Population*
  • Vision Tests
  • Visual Acuity