Myopia or "near-sightedness" is a form of refractive error that causes objects in the distance to be blurry. This occurs due to the elongation of our eye or from the light rays becoming focused in front of our retinal tissue within the eye. Myopia has always been very common however, it has been increasing significantly over the past few years. As a matter of fact, by the year 2050, it is estimated that 50% of the world's population will be near-sighted. In the US, cases of myopia have doubled over the past generation and are currently impacting over 40% of the population.
So what is the big deal? Why can't we just simply correct myopia with glasses or contacts? Myopia is not a disease and glasses can make us see clearly again -- so what gives? Well, as myopia progresses -- and it does as most of us know -- the eye elongates and stretches out, creating significant risk for the development of retinal holes, tears, and detachments, as well as other blinding conditions such as Glaucoma!
In the past, we would see myopia present in the early teens and progress into the early 20s before slowing down. Now, behavioral changes within or society -- in particular less time spent outdoors and more near point work (think screen time) have been identified as key components in the early and more severe progression of myopia. In a new study in 2016, the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that nearly 10 million people in the US had advanced or severe myopia (defined as great than -6.00D)!
The world has certainly changed and we are seeing the ramifications with our young children needing stronger and stronger glasses every year. Fortunately, we can do something about this. Research has been focusing heavily on the topic of Myopia Control and at North Shore Eye Health and Wellness, we are here to help!
To read more about the myopia epidemic, here are some great articles!