• aberrations;
  • accommodation;
  • children;
  • natural pupils;
  • refractive error;
  • wavefront aberrations

Background:  The relationship between ocular wavefront aberrations and refractive error in children's eyes remains controversial. The purpose of this study is to re-examine this relationship in Chinese school children under natural distance accommodation.

Methods:  Ocular wavefront aberrations were measured in 86 Chinese children with spherical equivalent refraction (SER) between +0.5 D and -6.0 D and astigmatism less than -1.00 D. Wavefront aberrations were calculated using an objective method based on the Hartmann-Shack principle. Refractive error was obtained using a phoropter after cycloplegia. Subjects were categorised into three groups based on the mean SER: emmetropia (SER from -0.50 D to +0.50 D), mild myopia (SER greater than -0.50 D to -3.00 D) and moderate myopia (SER greater than -3.00 D to -6.00 D). Of the 86 participants, 22 were emmetropic, 43 were mildly myopic and 21 were moderately myopic. The root mean square (RMS) values of higher-order aberrations, Zernike coefficients (third-, fourth- and fifth-order aberrations) and Rj (the ratio of third-, fourth- or fifth-order aberrations to total higher-order aberrations) were compared across the three refractive groups.

Results:  No significant correlations were found between the RMS values of total higher-order aberrations, third-order aberrations, fourth-order aberrations, fifth-order aberrations, spherical aberration or coma and SER. No significant differences in the RMS values of total higher-order aberrations or Rj were observed among the groups. The difference in fifth-order aberrations was statistically significant among the groups (p = 0.022); no other differences in higher-order aberration were found. Aside from C (3,1), no other differences were observed for Zernike coefficients.

Conclusion:  Ocular wavefront aberrations are similar among Chinese school children with different refractive errors under natural accommodation for a distance target. There is no evidence that myopes have a different amount of ocular higher-order aberrations than emmetropes.