November 15, 2011
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Higher risk of astigmatism may be linked to race, modifiable risk factors


Ophthalmology. 2011;118(10):1974-1981.

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African-American and Hispanic ethnicity and modifiable risk factors such as hyperopia, myopia and maternal smoking during pregnancy may be associated with higher risk of astigmatism, according to a cross-sectional study.

Possible associations between astigmatism and clinical, behavioral and demographic factors were examined in two population-based samples of 9,970 children aged 6 months to 72 months participating in the Multiethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study and the Baltimore Eye Disease Study.

Hispanic and African-American children showed a higher likelihood of astigmatism than non-Hispanic white children, with odds highest in the Hispanic group. Those with myopia were 4.6 times as likely to have astigmatism as those without refractive error, and those with hyperopia were 1.6 times as likely.

Children between 6 months and 12 months of age were three times as likely to have astigmatism as those between 5 years and 6 years of age, and patients with mothers who smoked during pregnancy were 1.46 times as likely as those with non-smoking mothers.

The authors recommended that additional factors be evaluated, including etiologic or genetic pathways suggested by the association with smoking.