Purpose: To investigate prevalence and risk factors for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism in southern India. Methods: Randomly sampled villages were enumerated to identify people aged ≥40 years. Participants were interviewed for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors and attended a hospital-based ophthalmic examination including visual acuity measurement and objective and subjective measurement of refractive status. Myopia was defined as spherical equivalent (SE) worse than −0.75 dioptres (D), hyperopia as SE ≥+1D and astigmatism as cylinder <−0.5. Results: The age-standardised prevalences of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism were 35.6% (95% CI: 34.7–36.6), 17.0% (95% CI: 16.3–17.8) and 32.6 (29.3–36.1), respectively. Of those with myopia (n = 1490), 70% had advanced cataract. Of these, 79% had presenting visual acuity (VA) less than 6/18 and after best correction, 44% of these improved to 6/12 or better and 27% remained with VA less than 6/18. In multivariable analyses (excluding patients with advanced cataract), increasing nuclear opacity score, current tobacco use, and increasing height were associated with higher odds of myopia. Higher levels of education were associated with increased odds of myopia in younger people and decreased odds in older people. Increasing time outdoors was associated with myopia only in older people. Increasing age and female gender were associated with hyperopia, and nuclear opacity score, increasing time outdoors, rural residence and current tobacco use with lower odds of hyperopia. After controlling for myopia, factors associated with higher odds of astigmatism were age, rural residence, and increasing nuclear opacity score and increasing education with lower odds. Conclusions: In contrast to high-income settings and in agreement with studies from low-income settings, we found a rise in myopia with increasing age reflecting the high prevalence of advanced cataract.
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