Research indicates that myopia prevalence is increasing worldwide, and experts predict the trend will continue in the coming years. Also known as nearsightedness, myopia happens when an individual’s eyeball grows too long. It causes images to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it.
The retina is the light-sensitive part of the back of the eye. People with myopia have poor distance vision. Here is more about the growing epidemic of myopia, why it is increasing, and what we can do about it.
The Myopia Epidemic
Myopia prevalence in the country has grown from 25% in the early 1970s to over 40% today. The upward trend is similar in other countries, with Asia reporting the highest cases. The prevalence has reached 80 to 90% among school-going children in many East and Southeast Asian countries.
Experts predict that over 50% of the world’s population will be myopic in the next 25 to 30 years. With the prevalence of myopia, eye health specialists expect to see an increase in severe eye diseases and complications.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eye elongates or grows longer than normal from front to back. The result is an oval-shaped eyeball instead of a round one. Myopia can also be due to problems with the eye lens or cornea shape. The cornea is the clear layer in front of the eye. The issues affect the way light focuses on the retina. It causes distant objects to appear blurry.
Myopia can affect anyone, but people whose family members have the condition have a higher risk of being nearsighted. The condition usually develops in childhood and continues to worsen.
Symptoms of Myopia
Several symptoms can indicate an individual has myopia.
The symptoms include:
Difficulty seeing distant objects.
The need to squint to see clearly
Experiencing eyestrain or eye fatigue.
Some people with mild myopia may not realize they have the condition. It is vital to schedule regular eye exams to ensure you have good vision.
Why Myopia Is Increasing
Many eye specialists agree that myopia is increasingly affecting younger children. If not corrected early, myopia will continue to worsen through the teen years. Children are spending more time indoors using digital devices, contributing to an increase in myopia.
Myopia management and spending more time outdoors can help slow myopia progression. Research shows that adults are also developing myopia at an increasing rate. It is often due to an increase in the use of digital devices and increased work.
Myopia and Eye Diseases
People with high myopia risk developing severe eye conditions such as glaucoma, retinal detachment, and cataracts. While myopia is generally easy to correct, the resulting complications can lead to vision impairment and blindness. Many high school children develop high myopia, increasing their risk of permanent vision loss.
Eye specialists can prescribe myopia treatment or management options to slow or prevent myopia progression. Treatment options include eyeglasses, special contact lenses, and eye drops. Limiting screen time and encouraging children to spend more time playing outdoors can protect their vision.
For more on the growing epidemic of myopia, visit Revision Optix at our office in Greenville or Simpsonville, South Carolina. Call (864) 900-0671 or (864) 252-2400 to book an appointment today.