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April 1, 2005

Prevalence of Refractive Errors Among Adults in Europe

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(4):580. doi:10.1001/archopht.123.4.580-a

We read with interest the article in the April 2004 issue of the ARCHIVES1 showing a high prevalence of refractive errors in the population aged 40 years or older in the United States, Western Europe, and Australia. The prevalence rates were based on data from 6 large population studies, 3 from the United States, 2 from Australia, and 1 from Europe. The European study, from the Netherlands,2 included data collected between 1990 and 1993 with a focus on subjects aged 55 years or older. Therefore, the rates for the age group 40 to 55 years, including the European population, were estimated from the studies performed in the United States and Australia. Based on that, the prevalence rates of myopia of −1 diopter (D) or less for the population aged 40 to 49 years were calculated to be 46% among women and 37% among men.1 In our opinion, the estimated rates for the general European population of this age group are too high.

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