Low prevalence of myopia in children from a rural population in Marcos Juárez, Argentina
Purpose: This study was developed to evaluate the prevalence and progression of myopia in children living in a rural area of Argentina.
Methods: This was a prospective school-based cohort study of refractive error. Children attending all schools in Marcos Juarez were examined first at school entrance and 5 years later (ages 11-12). The spherical equivalent refraction (SER) was obtained with cycloplegia.
Results: In 2013, 347 children were examined and 283 of these were available 5 years later (81%). At follow-up mean age was 11.84 ± 0.36 years. The mean SER was +1.36 ± 0.83 D in 2013 and decreased significantly to +1.07 ± 1.03 D in 2018 (an overall shift of -0.30 D, p<0.001). The prevalence of myopia < -0.50 D was low (2.12% in 2013 and 3.53% in 2018), and there were no cases of high myopia < -5.00 D in either period. The prevalence of hyperopia (> +2.00 D) decreased from 15.55% in 2013, to 9.54% in 2018, while the prevalence of emmetropia and low hyperopia (-0.50 to +2.00 D) increased with follow-up (82.68% in 2013 to 86.92% in 2018). There was a very low incidence of myopia in five years (1.44%).
Conclusion: A low prevalence and incidence of myopia was detected in a rural area of Argentina, in children followed from age 7 to 12 years.