Geeks logo

More young adults need glasses

Myopia increase

By Ariana EscangaPublished 4 days ago 3 min read
More young adults need glasses
Photo by Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash

Myopia (nearsightedness) and its increasing prevalence. It's clear that myopia rates have been on the rise worldwide, and the impact of this condition is becoming a significant public health concern.

Myopia rates have been steadily increasing for several decades, both in the United States and globally. This trend has led some researchers to describe it as an epidemic due to its rapid growth.

In the US, the prevalence of myopia has increased from 25% in 1971 to 42% by 2004. Projections suggest that if current trends continue, nearly half of the world's population will be myopic by 2050. In some Asian regions like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea, myopia rates are already significantly higher.

The World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes high myopia as a prescription stronger than -5, and individuals with high myopia are at greater risk of vision-threatening conditions in the future.

Most people are born with eyes that are naturally slightly hyperopic (farsighted), meaning they have difficulty seeing objects up close. However, as we grow and develop, our eyes also grow and change in shape. As the eye matures, it typically reaches a spherical shape, where the lens can focus light directly onto the retina. This results in clear vision for both near and distant objects.

In the case of myopia, the eye continues to grow and elongate beyond the normal spherical shape. This elongation causes the lens to focus images from up-close objects onto the retina, but images from distant objects focus in front of the retina, leading to blurry distance vision.

Childhood and adolescence are crucial phases for eye growth and vision development. During this period, the eyes are more susceptible to changes that can lead to myopia. While myopia most commonly develops during childhood and adolescence, it can also occur later in life if there is excessive strain on the eyes or significant environmental changes that affect eye growth.

Myopia is a lifelong condition, and once a person becomes myopic, it generally does not regress naturally. The elongated eye shape persists throughout life.

Additionally, having one myopic parent increases the odds of being nearsighted, and having two myopic parents further elevates the risk, but human genetics alone cannot explain the fast-paced rise in myopia.

Here are some factors contributing to the rise in myopia:

Increased Screen Time: With the proliferation of digital devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers, people are spending more time looking at screens up close. This prolonged near work can increase the risk of myopia.

Outdoor Activity: Reduced outdoor time, especially in childhood, has been linked to myopia. Outdoor activities and exposure to natural light appear to have a protective effect against myopia development.

Educational Pressure: Intense educational systems that emphasize close-up work and extensive reading from an early age may contribute to myopia. Students in countries with high myopia rates often experience significant academic pressure.

Urbanization: The shift towards urban living and a decrease in outdoor play spaces in urban environments can limit opportunities for children to engage in outdoor activities.

Genetic Predisposition: While genetics play a role, the rapid increase in myopia rates suggests that environmental factors are also influential.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as diet, exposure to pollution, and overall lifestyle may contribute to myopia.

Researchers are actively studying the complex interplay between genetics and environmental factors to better understand the causes of myopia and develop strategies for prevention and treatment. Myopia control methods, like orthokeratology, specialized contact lenses, and pharmaceutical interventions, are being explored to help slow the progression of myopia in children at risk.

Regular eye exams and early intervention are crucial for managing myopia and reducing the risk of high myopia, which can lead to vision-threatening complications. Additionally, promoting a healthy lifestyle, encouraging outdoor activities, and minimizing excessive screen time are essential steps in addressing the myopia epidemic.


About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.