HOW COMMON IS MYOPIA?
Approximately 30% of the world’s population suffers from myopia. Furthermore, based on current trends, it is estimated that by 2050, almost 50% (or a staggering 5 billion people) will have myopia.
COVID-19 has significantly raised the stakes and increased the burden of myopia. Peer-reviewed evidence from many parts of the world suggests that the quarantine measures of social distancing, stay at home, surge of near-based activities and less time outdoors has resulted in a significant spike in prevalence, incidence (new cases of myopia) and progression of myopia.
WHY IS MYOPIA AN ISSUE?
The impact of myopia is substantial. Uncorrected myopia is a leading cause of avoidable vision impairment and, whether corrected or uncorrected, has an influence on the quality of life and social domains of a young person. For example, when uncorrected, myopia can affect children’s performance at school.
Higher levels of myopia significantly increase the risk of developing sight-threatening complications – this risk exists even during the younger formative years but multiplies and is greater in older individuals.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS OF MYOPIA?
Although higher levels of myopia are associated with increased risk of complications, especially later in life, no level of myopia is safe. People with high myopia (-5.00D or worse) have an increased risk of retinal detachment, cataracts, myopic degeneration and glaucoma, which can all cause vision loss. People with high myopia should ask their eye care professional about the warning signs for these conditions, and ensure they have comprehensive eye health examinations regularly.