The assessment of myopigenic environmental risk factors such as near-work relies on subjective data. Although diaries and questionnaires on near-work show correlation to some degree, it remains unknown how they may correspond to ground truth. This is an important consideration because valid estimates of near-work have great utility for understanding the mechanisms by which dioptric demand drives excessive eye-growth, which is not yet entirely understood. To this end, we assessed a novel eye-tracking system to quantify near-work.
We compared subjective entries from diaries to objective data on accommodative demand acquired with a three-dimensional eye-tracker in 20 participants. Each test involved approximately one-hour exposure to ecological near-work environments. Furthermore, topographical dioptric demand maps were computed in retinal coordinates.
Our study suggests a frequent mismatch between objectively and subjectively labeled data of near-work tasks (concordance 74.6%). Objective and subjective estimates of dioptric demand showed a moderate correlation and were not significantly different (R2 = 0.59, P = .35). Instead, accommodative demand with an agreement between objective and subjective near-work labels showed a high correlation and were significantly different (R2 = 0.79, P = .016). The accumulated topographical dioptric demand of ecological near-work environments did not present myopigenic defocus stimuli to the retina periphery. Thus extreme close-up near-work presented peripheral defocus stimuli that have been proposed to curb excessive eye growth.
The proposed objective measurement method may provide improvements over subjective methods for estimating near-work parameters.
The topographic dioptric demand maps highlight a possible conflict of causal mechanisms of the two myopia models: “excessive near-work” and “peripheral optical defocus.”