Change in body height, axial length and refractive status over a four-year period in Caucasian children and young adults

Stephanie Kearney*, Niall C. Strang, Bastian Cagnolati, Lyle S. Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)



Body height and axial length (AL) increase during childhood with excessive axial elongation resulting in myopia. There is no consensus regarding the association between body growth and AL during refractive development. This study explored the association between change in body height, AL and refractive status over 4-years in children and young adults.

Material and Methods

Measures were collected biennially (timepoints: t1, t2, t3) (t1 n = 140, aged 5-20years). Non-cycloplegic autorefraction was obtained using the Shin-Nippon openfield autorefractor. AL, corneal curvature (CC) and anterior chamber depth (ACD) were measured by IOL Master. Body height (cm) was measured using a wall mounted tape measure. Refractive status was classified using spherical equivalent refraction (SER): persistent emmetropes (PE) (-0.50D to +1.00D), persistent myopes (PM) (≤-0.50D), progressing myopes (PrM) (increase of ≤-0.50D between timepoints), incident myopes (IM) (subsequent SER≤-0.50D) and persistent hyperopes (PH) (>+1.00D).


Change in AL and change in height were correlated in the PE (all t:p ≤ 0.003) and the IM (t1-t2 p = 0.04). For every increase in body height of 1 cm: t1-t2: AL increased by 0.03 mm in the PE, 0.15 in the PM, 0.11 mm in the IM, 0.14 mm in the PrM, -0.006 mm in the PH. T2-t3: AL increased by 0.02 mm in the PE, 0.06 in the PM, 0.16 mm in the PrM, 0.12 mm in the IM and -0.03 mm in the PH.


In emmetropia body growth and axial elongation are correlated. In participants with myopia, body growth appears to stabilise whilst axial elongation continues at a much faster rate indicating dysregulation of normal ocular growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Optometry
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • myopia
  • axial length
  • body height

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Optometry


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