Myopia: The low down
Most people have some level of prescription. In fact, approximately 30% of the world’s population has myopia and 60% has hyperopia. That leaves only 10% of the population with emmetropia or no prescription at all. What a lucky group! You may have noticed that you don’t hear much about hyperopia and the impact it can have on vision or eye health. That is because many people with hyperopia don’t require visual correction and also don’t have any pathological side effects of the condition. So, let’s get back to the condition that causes all the fuss…MYOPIA.
Myopia is also known as nearsightedness. I know, I know…that is confusing. But think of it like this. To be nearsighted means you have SIGHT at NEAR. As opposed to being farsighted (hyperopic) which means you have SIGHT at distance or FAR.
The prevalence of myopia is increasing with each passing year. By the year 2050, the World Health Organization has predicted that HALF of the world’s population will be myopic. That is equivalent to nearly 5 billion people! The reason for this surge is multifactorial and quite complicated, but one key component is that adults and children alike are spending more time indoors on electronic devices and less time outdoors.
Most patients that are nearsighted don’t think much of their condition. They wear glasses and/or traditional contact lenses and VOILA, they see well. End of story, right? Actually, that is just the beginning of the story. This blog series by myself and my colleague, Dr. Aamena Kazmi will address why we should all be more concerned about this staggering increase in myopia and what can be done to counteract it, especially in our children! Stay tuned…
-Ashley Tucker, OD, FAAO, FSLS, Diplomate ABO