Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

2012 Research Abstract

Natural History of Moderate Refractive Errors in Infants

Investigators: Ma Khin Pyi Son, BA, Mayo Medical School; David O. Hodge, MS, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation; Brian G. Mohney, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation

Mentor: Brian G. Mohney, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic

Introduction: Despite the common occurrence of refractive errors in infancy, their management has not been standardized among clinicians. While some clinicians prescribe spectacles to minimize blur, distorted visual stimuli are thought to advance the emmetropization process. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the natural history of refractive error among infants.

Methods: The medical records of all patients diagnosed with moderate refractive errors (myopia -0.75 to -4.0; hyperopia ≥ +3.50; and astigmatism ≥ 2.00) within the first year of life, from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 2000, were retrospectively reviewed. Children with a history of strabismus or intraocular or neurological surgery were excluded.

Results: Twenty-six infants were diagnosed with the above refractive errors at a mean age of 7.15 months (0.40-16.4) during the 10-year period. Three of the eight (37.5%) myopes reduced significantly, becoming hyperopic at a mean age of 35.4 months, 12 of 17 (70.6%) hyperopes showed a mean decrease of 3.40 diopters by a mean age of 95.4 months, and four of the five (20.0%) children diagnosed with astigmatism showed a mean decrease in astigmatism of 1.75 cylinders by a mean age of 62.1 months.

Conclusion: Although the sample sizes were small, most children in this study diagnosed with astigmatism or hyperopia in the first year of life showed a reduction of their refractive error over time. Moderate infantile myopia also commonly resolved although it persisted or worsened for some children.

Updated on September 4, 2013.

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