2020 as the Year of Quarantine Myopia | Ophthalmology | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Invited Commentary
January 14, 2021

2020 as the Year of Quarantine Myopia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 3Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Gelderland, The Netherlands
  • 4Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology, Basel, Switzerland
  • 5University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 6The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021;139(3):300-301. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.6231
Audio Author Interview (16:18)
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Although reports on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affecting health already exceed 32 000 articles, studies on direct effects on the eye appear to be limited.1 Conjunctivitis, retinitis, episcleritis, and optic neuritis have all been described as ocular manifestations, but frequency and morbidity are fortunately not striking. This has relieved us as ophthalmologists and given the impression that we have been spared a heavy patient load attributable to COVID-19 complications. We have focused on reorganizing our clinics and made sure that anti–vascular endothelial growth factor treatments and other urgent patient care were not obstructed.

In this issue of JAMA Ophthalmology, Wang et al2 are telling us another story. They suggest we should be worried about the ophthalmic outcome of COVID-19, not from the virus itself but from the potential outcome of an antivirus measure on eye health, specifically an outcome in children that may have major consequences for visual acuity later in life. China, followed by other Asian countries, was the first to experience the severe virus outbreak, the first to start closing schools and imposing home confinement, and the first (to our knowledge) to report the potential consequences of these actions on myopia. For the eye, this appears to be development of myopia at a young age; particularly, an early onset potentially increases the burden.

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