By 2050, half the world's population will be short-sighted with many at risk
of blindness, reports a study on the rapidly increasing prevalence of myopia.
The findings point out to a major public health problem. The rapid increase
of myopia and high myopia is largely driven by the use of electronic devices
and spending less time outdoors.
‘With the increasing use of electronic devices, incidence of myopia has increased to 50% and one-fifth of the affected may be at high risk of blindness.’
The researchers estimated that 49.8 percent of the world's population,
nearly five billion people, will be short-sighted by 2050. Up to one-fifth of
them will be at a significantly increased risk of blindness if current trends
Myopia is a common cause of vision loss, with uncorrected myopia the leading
cause of distance vision impairment globally.
"We also need to ensure our children receive a regular eye examination
from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably each year" said
co-author Professor Kovin Naidoo.
If found at risk, preventative strategies can be used such as increasing
time outdoors and reducing time spent on near based activities requiring constant
focusing up close.
"Furthermore, there are 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," he said.
Planning for comprehensive eye care services is needed to manage the rapid
increase, as is development of treatments to control the progression of myopia,
the authors said.