The relationship of season of birth with refractive error in very young children in eastern China

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 19;9(6):e100472. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100472. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Purpose: To determine the association of season of birth and refractive error in very young Chinese children in China.

Methods: We conducted a population-based study of Chinese children aged 0 to 3 years residing in eastern China. Refraction was determined by non-cyclopegic autorefraction using a hand-held autorefractor. Date of birth was retrieved from birth certificate of the individual subjects. A generalized linear regression model was fitted to estimate the regression coefficient and 95% confidence interval (CI) of refractive error for season of birth, adjusting for confounders.

Results: Of the 1385 children eligible to participate, 1222 (88.2%) were examined. Refractive error data were available for 1219 children. The mean spherical equivalent were 1.21 diopters (D) in children born Spring, 1.24 D in those born in Summer, 1.23 D in those born in Autumn, 1.15 D in Winter. After adjusting for age, sex, father's educational level, birth weight and the number of summers between birth and examination date the children have been exposed to, children born in winter had a 0.12 D more myopic refraction compared with those born in summer (regression coefficient: -0.12; 95% CI, -0.27,-0.06; P = 0.006). The association between season of birth and cylinder power was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: In China, children born in winter had a more myopic refraction compared with those born in other seasons. The observed association between season of birth and refractive error was independent of parental educational level and birth weight, suggesting that light level may have a small impact on refractive development in early life.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parturition*
  • Prevalence
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology*
  • Seasons*

Grant support

This study was funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.