Background: Myopia is the most common refractive error worldwide and is a growing global burden. Although myopia is a well-recognized problem, it has not been extensively studied in Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of myopia and assess the association between e-reading and myopia.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study included data collected from 571 male medical students in Riyadh between February 2019 and May 2019. The participants were categorized into three groups using stratified random cluster sampling: 187, 194, and 190 students from the fifth, third, and first years, respectively. The prevalence of myopia was self-reported through a questionnaire that also included details regarding the pattern of electronic device use. Statistical analyses were performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences to determine the prevalence with 95% confidence level.
Results: Among the 291 medical students who responded, 117 (40%) had myopia (95% confidence interval = 33.4%-48.0%), of whom 70% were diagnosed before attending the university. When comparing between myopic and non-myopic students with respect to electronic device usage, no significant difference was found (p = 0.28). However, a significant difference was found between the groups in terms of laptop utilization compared to other types of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets (p = 0.03).
Conclusions: The prevalence of myopia among university medical students was 40%. A significant difference was found between myopic and non-myopic students regarding laptop use compared with other types of electronic devices.
Key words: Electronic devices, myopia, prevalence, students, university