The prevalence rates of refractive errors among children, adolescents, and adults in Germany
- PubMed: 19668760
Purpose: The prevalence rates of myopia vary between 5% in Australian Aborigines to 84% in Hong Kong and Taiwan, 30% in Norwegian adults, and 49.5% in Swedish schoolchildren. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of refractive errors in German children, adolescents, and adults. Methods: The parents (aged 2465 years) and their children (516 subjects aged 235 years) were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their refractive error and spectacle use. Emmetropia was defined as refractive status between +0.25D and 0.25D. Myopia was characterized as 0.5D and hyperopia as +0.5D. All information concerning refractive error were controlled by asking their opticians. Results: The prevalence rates of myopia differed significantly between all investigated age groups: it was 0% in children aged 26 years, 5.5% in children aged 711 years, 21.0% in adolescents (aged 1217 years) and 41.3% in adults aged 1835 years (Pearsons Chi-square, p = 0.000). Furthermore, 9.8% of children aged 26 years were hyperopic, 6.4% of children aged 711 years, 3.7% of adolescents, and 2.9% of adults (p = 0.380). The prevalence of myopia in females (23.6%) was significantly higher than in males (14.6%, p = 0.018). The difference between the self-reported and the refractive error reported by their opticians was very small and was not significant (p = 0.850). Conclusion: In Germany, the prevalence of myopia seems to be somewhat lower than in Asia and Europe. There are few comparable studies concerning the prevalence rates of hyperopia.