Conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence as a biomarker of outdoor exposure in myopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Natali Gutierrez Rodriguez, Aura Ortega Claici, Jorge A. Ramos-Castaneda, Jorge González-Zamora, Valentina Bilbao-Malavé, Miriam de la Puente, Patricia Fernandez-Robredo, Sandra Johanna Garzón-Parra, Manuel Garza-Leon, Sergio Recalde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Outdoor exposure is considered the primary modifiable risk factor in preventing the development of myopia. This effect is thought to be attributed to the light-induced synthesis and release of dopamine in the retina. However, until recent years, there was no objective quantifiable method available to measure the association between time spent outdoors and myopia. It is only recently that the conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence (CUVAF) area, serving as a biomarker for sun exposure, has begun to be utilized in numerous studies. To provide a comprehensive summary of the relevant evidence pertaining to the association between the CUVAF area and myopia across different geographic regions and age groups, a systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted. The search encompassed multiple databases, including MEDLINE, SCIENCE DIRECT, GOOGLE SCHOLAR, WEB OF SCIENCE, and SCOPUS, and utilized specific search terms such as "conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence", "CUVAF", "UVAF", "objective marker of ocular sun exposure", "myopia", "degenerative myopia", and "high myopia". The bibliographic research included papers published between the years 2006 and 2022. A total of 4051 records were initially identified, and after duplicates were removed, 49 articles underwent full-text review. Nine articles were included in the systematic review. These studies covered myopia and outdoor exposure across different regions (Australia, Europe and India) with a total population of 3615 individuals. They found that myopes generally had smaller CUVAF areas compared to non-myopes. The meta-analysis confirmed this, revealing statistically smaller CUVAF areas in myopic patients, with a mean difference of − 3.30 mm2 (95% CI − 5.53; − 1.06). Additionally, some studies showed a positive correlation between more outdoor exposure and larger CUVAF areas. In terms of outdoor exposure time, myopic patients reported less time outdoors than non-myopic individuals, with a mean difference of − 3.38 h/week (95% CI − 4.66; − 2.09). Overall, these findings highlight the connection between outdoor exposure, CUVAF area and myopia, with regional variations playing a significant role. The results of this meta-analysis validate CUVAF as a quantitative method to objectively measure outdoor exposure in relation with myopia development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1097
Pages (from-to)1097
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

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© 2024, The Author(s).

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