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Title: A prospective study of refractive error amongst Northern Irish schoolchildren
Author: Breslin, Karen Margaret Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 9393
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Prospective data on refractive error in childhood in the United Kingdom are scarce. The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction Study (NICER Study) is the first prospective population-based investigation of refractive error and ocular components amongst school children in the United Kingdom. The NICER Study (Phase 1) on the prevalence of refractive error amongst Northern Irish schoolchildren began in 2006. This population-based cross-sectional study's primary aim was to investigate the prevalence of myopia in a white population which is reflective of the Northern Irish population. This study had several strengths including the use of stratified random-cluster sampling to identify participants and the use cycloplegia for the measurement of refractive error. Within the NICER Study (Phase 1), data collection was completed on over 1000 schoolchildren. Following on from this, Phase 2 of the study aimed to collect follow-up data on these same subjects three years on from the original data collection. This resulted in a prospective population-based investigation of refractive error amongst primary and post-primary schoolchildren. This allowed both an investigation of the change in prevalence of refractive errors and also the change in individual's refractive error. Protocols remained unchanged between Phase 1 and 2 apart from the inclusion of two additional measures at Phase 2. The study was completed within the time-frame and within budget. Good participation rates were achieved and baseline comparisons between those who participated at Phase 1 and those who participated at Phase 2 showed negligible differences. In total 738 school children were examined (302 9-10-year-olds and 436 15-16-year-olds). Median three-year change in right eye (RE) spherical equivalent refractive error (SER) was - 0.38D amongst 9-10-year-olds and -0.13D amongst 15-16-year-olds. Median three-year change in RE axial length (AL) was 0.48mm amongst 9-10-year-olds and O.l4mm amongst 15-16-year-olds. Low hyperopic refractive error at 9-10-years of age and at 15-16-years-of- age was identified as an ocular predictor for future myopia. Further three year follow-up of the NICER subjects is planned (Phase 3) and this will provide additional prospective data on refractive error during the school years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available