Relation of anthropometric measurements to ocular biometric changes and refractive error in children with thalassemia



To evaluate and correlate anthropometric, biometric, and refractive error changes in thalassemia major (TM).


One hundred children with TM and another hundred healthy controls were recruited. Height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and occipitofrontal circumference (OFC) were the anthropometric parameters recorded. Full ophthalmologic examination was performed, including best-corrected visual acuity, cycloplegic refraction, slit-lamp examination, Goldmann applanation tonometry, indirect ophthalmoscopy, keratometry (K readings), and ocular biometry.


Compared to controls, children with TM were shorter and lighter, with a smaller BMI (p<0.001); however, no significant difference existed in OFC. Regarding ocular biometric data, patients with thalassemia had steeper mean K readings (p = 0.03), shorter axial length (AXL) (p = 0.005), shorter vitreous chamber depth (p<0.001), and thicker crystalline lens (p<0.001) than controls. Patients with thalassemia had a significant myopic shift (p = 0.003). Multiple regression analyses only showed a significant correlation between corneal astigmatism and both weight and height (β = -0.05 and p = 0.03 and β = 0.06 and p = 0.04, respectively). Spherical equivalent was significantly correlated to K readings, lens thickness, and anterior chamber depth (p<0.0001 for all parameters).


Compared to controls, children with TM have significant retardation in general and ocular growth (smaller BMI and shorter AXL). Ocular growth changes probably resulted in compensatory biometric changes (steeper corneas and thicker lenses) to reach emmetropization, with an exaggerated response and subsequent myopic shift. However, growth retardation is not directly related to ocular growth changes, myopic shift, or variations in biometric parameters.

Post author correction


Article Subject: Basic Science Section



Rania S. Elkitkat, Amany A. El-Shazly, Weam M. Ebeid, Marwa R. Deghedy

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has conflict of interest with this submission.

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  • Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo - Egypt
  • Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo - Egypt

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