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  • What Are the Risk Factors for Myopia Progression?

    Refractive error remains the leading cause of visual disability globally among children and young adults. As such, understanding potentially modifiable targets or factors that influence the worsening of refractive error may enable physicians to develop informed management strategies. During Monday’s symposium on scientific insights from big data, Xueya Cai, PhD, explained how her study harnessed the power of the Academy’s IRIS Registry to tackle this question.

    Intelligent Research in Sight. “The IRIS Registry is the nation’s first comprehensive eye disease clinical registry,” said Dr. Cai. “It includes information on demographics, diagnosis, procedures, and medications, as well as refractive error measures.” These features make the registry an ideal tool for evaluating myopia progression over time, she said. The repository currently houses data from 252.92 million patient encounters from 60.78 million unique patients. As of Sept. 1 of this year, 18,167 Academy ophthalmologists and affiliated optometrists are using the service.

    Risk factors revealed. The analysis comprised longitudinal assessments from 615,140 U.S. patients aged 35 years or younger and unveiled several risk factors associated with myopia progression:

    • Refractive error present at an early age
    • Hispanic ethnicity
    • Living in the eastern region of the United States
    • Seeing providers in high-income communities 

    Is big data here to stay? Very much so, according to Dr. Cai. “Due to the dynamic features of big data, the findings can be used to predict patient outcomes and to identity high-risk patients,” she said. “In addition, it provides generalizable conclusions to physicians as well as stakeholders for treatment improvement and policy implications.” —Keng Jin Lee, PhD

    Financial disclosure. Dr. Cai: None.

    Read more news from AAO 2019 and the Subspecialty Day meetings.