The prevalence of myopia among some young Asian populations has been reported to be increasing to near epidemic proportions. Mongolia is an emerging Asian economy with limited ophthalmic resources. The purpose of this study was to define a level of myopia for school-aged children in rural Mongolia.
A total of 1057 schoolchildren, aged between 7 and 17 years, were examined in two remote, rural suums (districts) of Mongolia: one situated in the western aimag (province) of Khovd and the other in the central steppe’s aimag of Zavkhan. The examination included retinoscopy, subjective refraction, best-corrected visual acuity, and direct ophthalmoscopy.
The total prevalence of myopia (more than −0.5 D spherical equivalent) was 5.8% (95% confidence intervals [CIs], 4.4–7.2%). Female students exhibited a significantly higher prevalence of myopia in comparison to male students: 8.3% (95% CIs, 6.0–10.6%) compared with 3.1%, respectively (95% CIs, 1.6–4.6%): p < 0.001). For those with myopia, the median level of myopia for both genders was −0.75 D spherical equivalent (SE) and ranged from −0.50 to −28.00 D SE in girls and from −0.50 to −6.50 D SE in boys.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to report a level of myopia for schoolchildren in Mongolia. The prevalence rate is low in comparison to reported studies for other Far Eastern countries.