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Association of Education and Occupation with Myopia in COMET Parents

Gwiazda, Jane; Deng, Li; Dias, Lynette; Marsh-Tootle, Wendy; The COMET Study Group

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31822171ad
Original Article

Purpose. To investigate refractive error, especially myopia, in parents of myopic children and its association with education and occupation.

Methods. Six hundred twenty-seven parents (n = 375 mothers and 252 fathers) of the 469 myopic 6- to <12-year-old children enrolled in COMET provided refraction data as well as answered questions about their education and occupation. Eighty-five percent of the refractions were obtained by non-cycloplegic autorefraction (Nidek ARK 700A), and 15% were obtained from the most recent prescription.

Results. The mean age ± SD of the parents was 44.26 ± 5.81 years, and their mean spherical equivalent refraction was −2.34 ± 2.94 D. Parents with higher education (college degree or greater) had significantly more myopia (−2.97 ± 2.98 D) than parents with lower education (−1.72 ± 2.76 D). The odds of being myopic were significantly higher in the higher education group (multivariate odds ratio = 2.12, 95% confidence interval = 1.41 to 3.19). Mean myopia also differed significantly by occupation, with parents in white collar jobs (−2.87 ± 3.10 D) significantly more myopic than those in blue collar jobs (−1.21 ± 2.02 D) by 1.66 D (p < 0.001). The odds of being myopic between the two occupation groups were of borderline significance (multivariate odds ratio = 1.61, 95% confidence interval = 0.999 to 2.60).

Conclusions. The parents of myopic children participating in a clinical trial of lenses to slow the progression of myopia had a high prevalence of myopia that was associated with their level of education and to a lesser extent with their choice of occupation. To our knowledge, this is the first account of refractive errors, education, and occupation in parents of a large group of myopic children.




Vision Science Department, The New England College of Optometry, Boston, Massachusetts (JG, LDeng), Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center, Stony Brook, New York (LDias), and Department of Optometry, The University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Optometry, Birmingham, Alabama (WM-T).

Received December 6, 2010; accepted April 1, 2011.

Jane Gwiazda, The New England College of Optometry, 424 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, e-mail:

© 2011 American Academy of Optometry