BACKGROUND: The aim was to investigate the relationship of the magnitude of myopia with visual acuity in highly myopic eyes without ocular pathology.
METHODS: Twelve hundred and ninety-two highly myopic eyes (up to -6.00 DS both eyes, no astigmatic cut-off) with no ocular pathology from the ZOC-BHVI high myopia study in China, had cycloplegic refraction, followed by subjective refraction and visual acuities and axial length measurement. Two logistic regression models were undertaken to test the association of age, gender, refractive error, axial length and parental myopia with reduced vision.
RESULTS: Mean group age was 19.0 ± 8.6 years; subjective spherical equivalent refractive error was -9.03 ± 2.73 D; objective spherical equivalent refractive error was -8.90 ± 2.60 D and axial length was 27.0 ± 1.3 mm. Using visual acuity, 82.4 per cent had normal vision, 16.0 per cent had mildly reduced vision, 1.2 per cent had moderately reduced vision, 0.3 per cent had severely reduced vision and no subjects were blind. The percentage with reduced vision increased with spherical equivalent to 74.5 per cent from -15.00 to -39.99 D, axial length to 67.7 per cent of eyes from 30.01 to 32.00 mm and age to 22.9 per cent of those 41 years and over. Spherical equivalent and axial length were significantly associated with reduced vision (p < 0.0001). Age and parental myopia were not significantly associated with reduced vision. Gender was significant for one model (p = 0.04).
CONCLUSION: Mildly reduced vision is common in high myopia without ocular pathology and is strongly correlated with greater magnitudes of refractive error and axial length. Better understanding is required to minimise reduced vision in high myopes.