WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by excessive eye elongation, risk of associated sight-threatening complications, and a negative-powered refractive error.
Myopia is a continuum of disease stages which should be assessed as early as possible.
Myopia may continue to progress beyond the teenage years and the associated disease risk increases exponentially with severity of myopia, making early diagnosis and treatment crucial to lifetime eye health.
GROWING GLOBAL EPIDEMIC
- Reports of increased myopia prevalence in children first emerged in the 1980s
• The prevalence has nearly doubled within the past 20 years in both eastern and western societies
• Prevalence among young adults is above 80% in many Asian regions, and 50% in the U.S. and parts of Europe
• Children in the first wave of high myopia prevalence (those born after 1970) are now on the cusp of experiencing sight-threatening complications as adults
NO SAFE LEVEL OF MYOPIA
• The elongated eye is susceptible to pathological complications with significant risks to eye health and vision
• Any degree of myopia increases the risk of sight-threatening complications, with some complications leading to blindness in adulthood
• Each diopter increase in myopia results in 67% increased risk of myopic macular degeneration
CONTROLLING MYOPIA PROGRESSION
• Eye care professionals now have the opportunity to slow myopia progression rather than just correct the visual symptoms
• Increased time outdoors can delay myopia’s onset and may slow its progression
• Several myopia control therapies have shown efficacy of over 0.3 mm (around 0.75 D) over two to three years of treatment
Myopia is associated with increased risks to eye health in adulthood.
Risk factors for myopia -
• Younger age • Refractive error • Minimal time outdoors (< 2 hrs/day) • Near work for longer duration or at a shorter working distance • Myopic parents
These risks include :
• Myopic macular degeneration (MMD) • Staphyloma • Retinal detachment • Primary open-angle glaucoma • Cataracts
Myopia progresses more quickly in younger children.
Because early onset implies more years of progression, myopes younger than 12 are at greater risk of developing high myopia.
This is why it’s essential for:
• Children between the ages of 3-5 years old to be examined at least once to establish baseline measurements
• All children to have an eye health exam annually until they reach 18 years old
MYOPIA IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO EYE HEALTH OF THE 21ST CENTURY
One evidence-based method to delay the onset of myopia in children is spending time outdoors.12 Growing evidence supports that more time outdoors may also slow the progression of myopia.13 Increased outdoor time may benefit all children.