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Myopia surge: 244% increase in two decades | Israel Hayom

2023-12-10T11:19:55.789Z

Highlights: By 2010, myopia affected 27% of the global population (1.45 billion people) As of 2010, the highest myopia rate worldwide was 2.9% (224 million people) There is a link between high myopia and significant health effects such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal detachment. Prolonged and excessive exposure to screens, including smartphones, computers or television, causes overstrain of the eyes. Genetic predispositions, combined with these environmental factors, can accelerate the onset and progression of myopia.


Over the past two decades, the incidence of acute myopia, also known as high myopia, has skyrocketed and increased at an alarming rate of 244%. Such an unprecedented surge calls for deep introspection into the reasons for its formation, and at the same time requires taking actions aimed at reducing the spread of the phenomenon. With forecasts pointing to an even sharper increase by 2030, understanding and addressing the underlying causes becomes paramount.


In association with Assuta Optic

Holden et al.'s article on "Myopia: A Growing Global Problem with Vision-Threatening Complications" highlights that by 2010, myopia affected 27% of the global population (1.45 billion people).

The prevalence of myopia is increasing, especially in some Asian countries, where teenagers in older age groups and younger adults have nearsightedness rates ranging from 84% to 97%. At the same time, there was an increase in the severity of myopia.

In the United States, the prevalence rate of mild myopia nearly doubled, rising from 11.4% in 1971-1972 to 22.4% in 1999-2004, while the rate of high myopia increased eightfold from 0.2% to 1.6%. As of 2010, the highest myopia rate worldwide was 2.9% (224 million people). There is a link between high myopia and significant health effects such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinal detachment.

In Japan, 12.2% of visual impairment was due to pathological myopia, which is high myopia with typical fundus lesions. Causes of myopia include a combination of genetics and environmental data, including working close term for long periods of time, limited time outdoors, and consequently low dose vitamin D. The impact of proactive interventions such as spending more time outdoors and potential treatments, including specific glasses and contact lenses, are under review. Some treatments show a reduction rate of up to 50% in myopia progression.

Prevalence in the world

The prevalence of visual impairment varies greatly between continents and countries. In Asia, myopia is very common, with estimates indicating that up to 80% of people in some countries suffer from myopia. In Europe, the prevalence of myopia is estimated to be around 27%, while in North America it is estimated that the prevalence is around 42%. In Australia, the overall prevalence of myopia is estimated to be about 33%.

While the statistics provide clarity about the extent and nature of the increase in myopia, it also raises vital questions. As for what is the proportion of drivers behind these numbers? How are these statistics translated into practice for people around the world? Most importantly, in the face of such daunting data, what proactive steps can be taken to combat this increasingly challenging phenomenon?

The causes of the increase in the incidence of myopia

Several factors contribute to the dramatic increase in the number of myopia sufferers among the modern population. The trend of changing the nature of living and moving to cities, inventions for a long time in indoor spaces, prolonged sitting over time, all these combined with little exposure to natural light. Prolonged and excessive exposure to screens, including smartphones, computers or television, causes overstrain of the eyes, which worsens myopia conditions. Moreover, genetic predispositions, combined with these environmental factors, can accelerate the onset and progression of myopia.

The causes of the increase in myopia in the modern population, photo: PEXELS

And what does the future hold for us?

With our growing dependence on digital devices and urban lifestyles, the outlook for 2030 looks bleak. If extreme and comprehensive proactive measures are not taken, the numbers should climb to much higher doses, placing a significant portion of the population at high risk of severe vision problems.

What can I do?

Dr. X Masuta Optic explains: "Combating this problem requires comprehensive and varied solutions. First, children and adults should be encouraged to engage in active outdoor activity every day and for a longer period of time, thus reducing their passive screen time. Schools and workplaces can incorporate "eye rest breaks" into schedules. Regular eye exams should be encouraged more frequently than is currently the norm, as early detection, early intervention and treatments such as orthokeratology may help slow the progression of myopia. Extensive public health advocacy campaigns, based on statistics, may raise awareness and urge people to prioritize their eye health.

When we are in the midst of a rising wave of cases of visual impairment, as can be seen from the analysis of alarming statistics, people dealing with such issues should consider and seek long-term solutions. Laser eye surgery, with its promise of a particularly high dose of success and preservation of results over time, in a way that frees the patient from dependence on other solutions, turns out to be a leading solution.

So when vision problems arise, it may be time to move from looking for temporary solutions to effective one-time treatment, to a clearer and more comfortable future."

In conclusion, while the increase in the dose of myopia is alarmingly high, understanding its causes suggests comprehensive treatment methods that may lead to a reduction in myopia. By combining knowledge from different platforms and taking proactive health measures, there is hope to change the narrative and protect future generations from the massive spread of myopia and its worsening.

In association with Assuta Optic

Source: israelhayom

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