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Childhood febrile illness and the risk of myopia in UK Biobank participants

Guggenheim, Jeremy Andrew ORCID: and Williams, C. 2016. Childhood febrile illness and the risk of myopia in UK Biobank participants. Eye 30 , pp. 608-614. 10.1038/eye.2016.7

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0950-222X
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 May 2016
Date of Acceptance: 18 December 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 08:53

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