One million exams in sight

Brien Holden Vision Institute myopia researcher, Dr Padmaja Sankaridurg, is studying the vision of nearly one million children

13 Dec 2016 by Olivia Wannan

One million exams in sight

The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has paired up with the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Centre (SEDPTC) to analyse the vision of nearly one million children in Shanghai. The initiative aims to address the growing prevalence of myopia in Chinese children. 

BHVI myopia researcher, Dr Padmaja Sankaridurg, spoke to OT about how this research could help to progress myopia prevention strategies.

Why is such a large study group beneficial to research on myopia? 

Information from large groups helps us understand the scale of the problem on the ground.This is not only with respect to myopia, but a large group also helps us understand the magnitude of vision impairment, uncorrected refractive errors and importantly helps the policy makers plan and implement appropriate strategies and interventions.

Roughly, what data do you have on each of the nearly one million children?

Since the screening involved practically all children in Shanghai, a full-scale examination was not feasible.The information collected included visual acuity and an assessment of the refractive error under non-cycloplegia. Those that needed further examination were referred to hospitals, however this information is not readily available.

Has there been anything like this study before? 

There have been some large-scale studies out of Taiwan and other East Asian countries, but none on this scale.

What will you do with the data you have now? 

We plan to analyse the information to understand the prevalence of refractive errors, uncorrected refractive errors and the scale of vision impairment. The information will also form a normative database against which future follow-up information will be compared.  

What interventions do you aim to trial as part of this work?

The SEDPTC-BHVI collaboration is also looking into improved outdoor time as an intervention for myopia. This is a prospective clinical trial that commenced recently, and involves approximately 4000 children.

It is hoped that the collective knowledge from this trial and other trials conducted by BHVI, which focus on various other strategies including optical devices, will inform the strategy for community-based interventions.  

What do you hope the SEDPTC-BHVI collaboration will be able to achieve for myopia? 

The collective knowledge of the partnership will help further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying myopia, refractive errors and vision impairment, and will help inform which strategies we can use to reduce the burden of myopia.

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