Myopia, often referred to as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is when a person’s long distance vision is blurry. A person who is myopic can see things clearly up close, but objects far away are blurry. The reason myopia occurs, particularly in progressive and high myopia, is because the eyeball is longer than average; and with the eyeball’s axial length being longer, images are focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it.
Research has shown that in the past 30 years, myopia among 12 - 54 year olds has increased 25% in the United States. In a recent Canadian study for the University of Waterloo School of Optometry, it found that myopia increased from 6% to 28.9% between the ages of 6 and 13. Leading researchers in both the United States and Canada have noted that myopia used to start at age 12 or 13, but is now showing up more often in kids as young as 6 or 7 years old.
Estimated prevalence of myopia globally from 2000 to 2050
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported “myopia and high myopia are increasing globally at an alarming rate, with significant increases in the risks of vision impairment from pathologic conditions associated with high myopia, including retinal damage, cataract, and glaucoma.” Following a recent study, the WHO estimated myopia affects 29.8% of the general population and that by the year 2050, more than 50% of the general population will be near-sighted. A 2016 study by Holden et al, also reported by the year 2050, 10% of the population (or 1 billion people) will have high myopia and be at risk of vision impairment and blindness.
The increased relative risk associated with myopia are summarized below.
As evidenced from numerous studies, myopia is becoming more and more of a concern, especially amongst our children.
At our dedicated Ortho-K and Myopia Control Center, we are focused on treating children with myopia. So if your child is nearsighted, there’s finally something you can do about it besides getting stronger eyeglasses every year.