Good vision is essential for our everyday wellbeing and quality of life.
Seeing well enables us to learn, work, and fully interact with the world around us.
1/3 of the global population live with uncorrected poor vision and its consequences.
Today, myopia affects a growing number of people worldwide, particularly in Asia and among younger people.
THE EPIDEMIC YOU DON'T SEE COMING
Tomorrow, 5 billion myopes.
A major global public health crisis.
MYTHS AND FACTS
Once you’re myopic, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Early intervention and management may potentially help in slowing down myopia progression(1).
Wearing glasses makes your myopia worse.
Under-corrected(2) vision (wearing incorrect glasses, or not wearing glasses when they are required) may accelerate myopia progression or have no benefit.
Using digital devices(3) can damage the eyes.
Depends on how you use these devices, and the time you spend on near-work.
Lasik can cure and permanently reverse myopia.
Lasik does not reduce the risk of eye diseases associated with high myopia.
Eye exams are unnecessary unless there is a problem.
Eye exams are crucial because children may not be able to recognize or articulate that they can’t see well.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH MYOPIA?
To myopes, distant objects appear
Today, 30% of the world’s population is myopic.
In 2050, nearly 50% of the world’s population will be suffering from myopia(4).
Children are the first victims
80% of what children learn is through their eyes(5)! And many children struggle to see the board in class.
Evolution of myopia
Myopia may typically start to develop in young school-age children and in some cases, may progress rapidly during school years, until they reach young adulthood.
Myopia may also develop in adults due to health conditions or environmental factors.
Presbyopia may occur in adults often after the age of 40.
Myopia rates are booming everywhere(6):
42% of Americans ages 12-54 are myopic, up from 25% just 40 years ago
28.9% of 11-13 years old were found to be myopic
Around one in three Europeans aged 18 or above suffers from myopia; among young adults, that number is closer to one in two.
52.4% of 25-29 years old in France already have myopia
16.4% Children in the UK are myopic
In East Asia, 69% of 15 years old are myopic, with Singaporean, Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese populations specifically affected to almost 80-90%
More than half of Chinese children and teenagers suffer from myopia, with the overall myopia rate among them reaching 53.6 percent.
Myopia rates for junior high school students: 71.6%, elementary school students: 36% and senior high school students: 81%
64.6% of 5-18 years old were found to be myopic
96% of 19 years old were found to be myopic
28% 7 years old are myopic
65% 12 years old are myopic
“High myopia” may lead to long-term eye health risks
• “High myopia” describe myopia from -5.00 Diopters
• Potential risk of serious complications such as myopic macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts and glaucoma, which may lead to visual impairment or permanent blindness in some cases.
Almost 1 billion high myopes by 2050.
Did you know?
Research estimates that people of Asian descent have a higher risk compared to people of Caucasian descent.
However, myopia is less common in Africa(8). Academics and professionals whose training and work entails a lot of reading may be at a greater risk.
Economical impact could be huge
The global potential productivity loss associated with the burden of Vision Impairment (VI) from Myopic Macular Degeneration (MMD) and incorrected myopia in 2015 was estimated at US$244 billion including US$17 billion in care-associated productivity loss(7).
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE MYOPIC?
If you're struggling with myopia,
Experience blurry vision when looking at distant objects
Squint or partially close the eyelids to see things clearly in the distance on a regular basis
Suffer from headaches
Feel eye strain at the end of the day
Some clues to help you identify myopia in children:
• If one parent is myopic, your children may be 2-3 times more likely to develop myopia than those with parents unaffected by the condition. If both parents are myopic, your children may be 5-6 times more likely to develop myopia(9).
• Look for early signs of myopia, such as blurry vision, squinting or frequent headaches, or if you notice your child sitting closer to the TV or to the front of the classroom.
• Your child has difficulty socializing.
• He/she presents academic and learning delay.
• He/she struggles to practice or avoids certain sports and outdoor activities.
CHECK YOUR VISION
TIPS AND GOOD HABITS TO FIGHT MYOPIA
Myopia cannot be cured but it may be
possible to delay its evolution in children
1. Visit an eye care professional
Go for regular comprehensive eye exams and ensure that you are wearing the right visual correction. If you have children, start before preschool and schedule them once every six months.
2. Spend time outside
Make the most of daylight and go for outdoor activities for at least 2 to 2.5 hours a day.
3. Take a break
Take a break about every 30 minutes when doing near work activities, stand up and look out a window.
4. Put the light on
Ensure that there’s sufficient lighting when doing near work activities to reduce strain on your eyes.
5. Limit screens
Limit the time you spend on near work - particularly on screens - to help reduce visual fatigue.
6. And don’t get too close
Be sure to maintain a good distance between your eyes and your near work - elbow to knuckle length is recommended (the "Harmon distance").
(1) Christine F. Wildsoet, Audrey Chia, Pauline Cho, Jeremy A. Guggenheim, Jan Roelof Polling, Scott Read, Padmaja Sankaridurg, Seang-Mei Saw, Klaus Trier, Jeffrey J. Walline, Pei-Chang Wu, James S. Wolffsohn; IMI – Interventions for Controlling Myopia Onset and Progression Report. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(3):M106-M131. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25958.
(2) 1) Li SY, Li SM, Zhou YH, Liu LR, Li H, Kang MT, Zhan SY, Wang N, Millodot M. Effect of undercorrection on myopia progression in 12-year-old children. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015 Aug;253(8):1363-8. doi: 10.1007/s00417-015-3053-8. Epub 2015 Jun 2. PubMed PMID: 26032395. 2) Chung K, Mohidin N, O’Leary DJ. Undercorrection of myopia enhances rather than inhibits myopia progression. Vision Res. 2002 Oct;42(22):2555-9. PubMed PMID:12445849. 3) The impact of myopia and high myopia: report of the Joint World Health Organization – Brien Holden Vision Institute Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 16–18 March 2015.
(3) The Association between Near Work Activities and Myopia in Children—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Huang HM, Chang DST, Wu PC (2015) The Association between Near Work Activities and Myopia in Children—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE 10(10): e0140419. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140419
(4) Source: Essilor & Brien Holden Vision Institute. https://www.brienholdenvision.org/myopia-prevalence.html
(5) Eyeglasses for Global Development: Bridging the Visual Divide; World Economic Forum, Social Entrepreneurs, EYElliance; June 2016
(6) Source: Essilor & Brien Holden Vision Institute. https://www.brienholdenvision.org/myopia-prevalence.html
(7) Vision Impact Institue, https://visionimpactinstitute.org/research/potential-lost-productivity-resulting-from-the-global-burden-of-myopia-systematic-review-meta-analysis-and-modeling/
(8) Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Holden, Brien A. et al. 2016.Ophthalmology , Volume 123 , Issue 5 , 1036 – 1042
(9) 1)Parental history of myopia, sports and outdoor activities, and future myopia. Jones LA, Sinnott LT, Mutti DO, Mitchell GL, Moeschberger ML, Zadnik K. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Aug;48(8):3524-32. PMID: 17652719 2)Farbrother JE, Kirov G, Owen MJ, Guggenheim JA. Family aggregation of 1339 high myopia: estimation of the sibling recurrence risk ratio. Invest Ophthalmol Vis 1340 Sci 2004;45:2873-2878