Prevalence of myopia in adults: Implications for refractive surgeons

Catherine A. McCarty, Patricia M. Livingston, Hugh R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: We reviewed the research on the prevalence of myopia in the adult population to compare the refractive distribution of patients being treated with excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy to correct myopia, and assess the potential market for excimer laser surgery. METHODS: All published reports of myopia prevalence in adults were reviewed, as well as the prevalence in the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project and the distribution of refractive errors treated by the Melbourne Excimer Laser Group in 1994. RESULTS: A large population-based study of people aged 4 to 74 years in the U.S. showed that 43% had low myopia (less than -5.00 diopters (D)), 3.2% had high myopia (-5.01 to -10.00 D), and 0.2% had extreme myopia (more than - 10.00 D). In Asian populations these proportions may be much higher and in African and Pacific island groups, much lower. In the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project, we found the prevalence of low myopia was 21%, high myopia 2%, and extreme myopia 0.3%. A single excimer laser has operated for 3 years in Melbourne. Of those treated, 45% had low myopia, 42% high myopia, and 13% extreme myopia. Compared to low myopes, high myopes were ten times (OR: 9.8; Confidence interval: 6.69 to 12.91) more likely to have excimer laser treatment and extreme myopes were 16 times (OR: 16.40; Confidence interval: 12.53 to 20.27) more likely. CONCLUSIONS: Although there are many more people with lower amounts of myopia in the population and the clinical results have been more predictable after one procedure in this group, the perceived benefits of excimer laser treatment may be greater for those with higher amounts of myopia, thus influencing their decision to undergo excimer laser surgery to correct their myopia. There is clearly a large market potential for excimer laser surgery in people with low myopia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Refractive Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1997

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of myopia in adults: Implications for refractive surgeons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this