Study Title:

Nutritional Factors and Myopia: An Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data.

Study Abstract

Significance: The rise in the prevalence of myopia, a significant worldwide public health concern, has been too rapid to be explained by genetic factors alone and thus suggests environmental influences.

Purpose: Relatively little attention has been paid to the possible role of nutrition in myopia. The availability of the large National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data set, which includes results from vision examinations, offers the opportunity to investigate the relationship between several nutrition-related factors, including body metrics, and the presence and magnitude of myopia.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey data sets with vision examination, demographic, body metrics, and nutritional data, collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey over the years of 2003 to 2008, were extracted for analysis. Based on already published basic and epidemiological studies, the following parameters were selected for study: body height and body mass index, demographics, serum vitamin D and glucose/insulin levels, and caffeine intake, using multivariable models and objectively measured refractive errors as the main outcome measure.

Results: Data from a total of 6855 ethnically diverse Americans aged 12 to 25 years were analyzed. In final multivariate models, female sex and age were the most significant factors related to myopia status and refractive error. In general, body metrics (body mass index) or nutritional factors (serum vitamin D, glucose levels, and caffeine intake) were found to be associated with refractive error or myopia status; however, increased insulin levels were related to increased odds of having myopia.

Conclusions: These largely negative findings suggest that other environmental factors, such as those related to the visual environment, may contribute more to the development and/or progression of myopia and would argue for continued research in these areas in support of more evidence-based myopia clinical management.

Study Information

Optom Vis Sci. 2021 May 1;98(5):458-468. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000001694. Erratum in: Optom Vis Sci. 2021 Aug 1;98(8):999. PMID: 33973916; PMCID: PMC8137665.

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