PURPOSE: Historical reports suggest febrile illness during childhood is a risk factor for myopia. The establishment of the UK Biobank provided a unique opportunity to investigate this relationship.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied a sample of UK Biobank participants of White ethnicity aged 40-69 years old who underwent autorefraction (N=91 592) and were classified as myopic (≤-0.75 Dioptres (D)), highly myopic (≤-6.00 D), or non-myopic (>-0.75 D). Self-reported age at diagnosis of past medical conditions was ascertained during an interview with a nurse at a Biobank assessment centre. Logistic regression analysis was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) for myopia or high myopia associated with a diagnosis before age 17 years of each of nine febrile illnesses, after adjusting for potential confounders (age, sex, highest educational qualification, and birth order).
RESULTS: Rubella, mumps, and pertussis were associated with myopia: rubella, OR=1.38, 95% CI: 1.03-1.85, P=0.030; mumps, OR=1.32, 95% CI: 1.07-1.64, P=0.010; and pertussis, OR=1.39, 95% CI 1.03-1.87, P=0.029. Measles, rubella, and pertussis were associated with high myopia: measles, OR=1.48, 95% CI: 1.07-2.07, P=0.019; rubella, OR=1.94, 95% CI: 1.12-3.35, P=0.017; and pertussis, OR=2.15, 95% CI: 1.24-3.71, P=0.006. The evidence did not support an interaction between education and febrile illness in explaining the above risks.
CONCLUSION: A history of childhood measles, rubella, or pertussis was associated with high myopia, whereas a history of childhood rubella, mumps, or pertussis was associated with any myopia. The reasons for these associations are unclear.
- Age of Onset
- Biological Specimen Banks
- European Continental Ancestry Group
- Middle Aged
- Myopia, Degenerative
- Refraction, Ocular
- Risk Factors
- United Kingdom
- Whooping Cough
- Journal Article
- Multicenter Study
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't