While the increasing prevalence of childhood myopia is common knowledge, less is known about how the condition presents and progresses in Indian kids specifically. Researchers recently suggested younger pediatric patients from South India with more severe stages of myopia progress the fastest, regardless of gender, geographic location and astigmatism type. These findings are similar to the literature on myopia progression in Caucasian and Chinese children.

The team conducted a retrospective review of 6,984 people ranging in age from one to 30 years who were classified as having mild, moderate, high or severe myopia. To calculate myopia progression, they calculated the difference in spherical equivalent refractive error between baseline and the one-year follow-up.

The investigators found that the mean annual progression was influenced by patient age and myopia severity and ranged from -0.07D to -0.51D. They noted that progression was greater in those younger than 15 (-0.45D vs. 0.14D), with the maximum change in refractive error occurring in children aged six to 10 years and the minimum change occurring in adults aged 26 to 30 years.

The investigators also observed greater myopia progression in severe myopes, followed by high, moderate and mild myopes. They added that severe myopic patients had a similar annual progression rate irrespective of age. Early onset was associated with high myopia in adulthood.

“The greater progression in severe myopes across different age groups emphasizes the need for regular follow-ups, monitoring axial lengths and anti-myopia strategies to control myopia progression irrespective of the age and degree of myopia,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Verkicharla PK, Kammari P. Myopia progression varies with age and severity of myopia. PLoS One. 2020;15(11):e0241759.