The number of people with vision loss from high myopia is expected to increase seven-fold from 2000 to 2050, impacting nearly five billion people, or half the world’s population, according to a study published in Ophthalmology. If current trends continue, one-fifth of myopes – or one billion people – will be at a significantly increased risk of blindness.
The rapid increase in the prevalence of myopia globally is attributed to, “environmental factors (nurture), principally lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities, among other factors,” wrote the authors from Brien Holden Vision Institute, University of New South Wales Australia and Singapore Eye Research Institute. They said planning for comprehensive eye care services is necessary along with treatments to control the progression of myopia and prevent people from becoming highly myopic.
“We also need to ensure our children receive a regular eye examination from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably each year, so that preventative strategies can be employed if they are at risk,” said Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute. “These strategies may include increased time outdoors and reduced time spent on near based activities including electronic devices that require constant focusing up close… other options such as specially designed spectacle lenses and contact lenses or drug interventions but increased investment in research is needed to improve the efficacy and access of such interventions.”