To study the prevalence and magnitude of myopia in a group of Hong Kong Chinese microscopists and compare it with that observed in microscopists working in the United Kingdom.
Forty-seven microscopists (36 women and 11 men) with a median age of 31 years and working in hospital laboratories throughout Hong Kong were recruited to the study. Information about past refractive corrections, microscopy work, and visual symptoms associated with microscope use were collected. All subjects had a comprehensive eye examination at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Optometry Clinic, including measures of refractive error (both noncycloplegic and cycloplegic), binocular vision functions, and axial length.
The prevalence of myopia in this group of microscopists was 87%, the mean (±SD) refractive error was −4.45 ± 3.03 D and mean axial length was 25.13 ± 1.52 mm. No correlation was found between refractive error and years spent working as a microscopist or number of hours per day spent performing microscopy. Subjects reporting myopia progression (N = 22) did not differ from the refractively stable group (N = 19) in terms of their microscopy working history, working hours, tonic accommodation level, or near phoria. However, the AC/A ratio of the progressing group was significantly greater than that of the stable group (4.59 Δ/D cf. 3.34 Δ/D).
The myopia prevalence of Hong Kong Chinese microscopists was higher than that of microscopists in the United Kingdom (87% cf. 71%), as well as the Hong Kong general population (87% cf. 70%). The average amount of myopia was also higher in the Hong Kong Chinese microscopists than the Hong Kong general population (−4.45 D cf. −3.00 D). We have confirmed that the microscopy task may slightly exacerbate myopia development in Chinese people.
Centre for Myopia Research, Department of Optometry and Radiography, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (PWKT, CSYL, MHE), School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (PWKT, KLS)
Received March 13, 2003,
revision received December 12, 2003.
School of Optometry
Queensland University of Technology
Victoria Park Rd.
Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia
Presented, in part, as a poster at Ninth International Conference on Myopia, November 2002, Hong Kong.