Prevalence and risk factors of myopia in Victoria, Australia

Matthew Wensor, Cathy A. McCarty, Hugh R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of myopia in urban and rural Victoria, Australia. Participants and Methods: The Visual Impairment Project is a population-based prevalence study of eye disease in which both urban and rural adult populations were examined. Refractive data on the participants were collected using logMAR visual acuity, corrective lens measurement, and subjective refraction. All refractive error data were converted into spherical equivalent and myopia was defined at 2 levels: worse than -0.5 diopters (D) and worse than -1.00 D. Results: A total of 3271 (83%) urban and 1473 (91%) rural residents were examined. The overall prevalence of myopia worse than -.0.50 D in the population was 17% (95% confidence limit = 15.8%, 18.0%). Prevalence of myopia decreased from 24% in those aged 40 to 49 years to 12% in those aged 70 to 79 years, and then increased to 17% in people older than 80 years. The younger age groups also had higher usage of myopic corrective lenses throughout their lives than the older age groups, indicating an increased use of myopic corrective lenses in recent times. Myopia was found to be significantly higher in people with higher education levels (X2= 119.20, P < .001), in clerks and professionals (X2 = 132.53, P < .001), in people born in southeast Asia (X2 = 77.62, P < .001), and in people with higher degrees of nuclear opacity (X2= 55.26, P < .001). Conclusion: Myopia rates in the Visual Impairment Project generally decrease with age and use of myopic correction has increased in recent times. Myopia was significantly related to education level, occupation, country of birth, and nuclear opacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-663
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Ophthalmology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999


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