Aida Giloyan, MPH, Research Associate of Meghrigian Institute, Tsovinar Harutyunyan, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor at Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health, and Varduhi Petrosyan, MS, PhD, Professor and Dean of the Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health recently published an article “Risk Factors for Developing Myopia among Schoolchildren in Yerevan and Gegharkunik province, Armenia” in the Journal of Ophthalmic Epidemiology. Ophthalmic Epidemiology is an internationally ranked peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research articles related to eye and vision health in the fields of epidemiology, public health and the prevention of blindness.
Visual impairment resulting from uncorrected refractive errors remains a significant public health problem worldwide. Myopia, the most common type of refractive error, is a complex trait leading to visual impairment and blinding complications. Children with a high degree of myopia are at higher risk of developing permanent visual impairment or blindness.
The study described in the article assessed the prevalence of and risk factors for myopia among schoolchildren in urban and rural areas of Armenia. This study found that the prevalence of myopia was almost twice as high among schoolchildren living in Yerevan (23.3%) compared to those living in Gegharkunik province (12.5%). Advanced age, living in Yerevan, spending over 60 minutes on daily continuous reading (reading without a break), reporting “excellent/good” school grades and having parental myopia were independent predictors of developing myopia among schoolchildren.
To prevent the progression of myopia, systematic eye screening programs should be developed for schoolchildren living in both urban and rural areas in Armenia. Increasing awareness about the influence of continuous reading on the development of myopia among school age children may prevent further progression of myopia.
The article is available as “Online First” at the following link:
The AUA Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.