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Global Myopia Prevalence and Predictions

Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050 Ophthalmology 2016;123:1036-1042  PMID: 26875007

In 2010, it was estimated that uncorrected refractive error was the most common cause of distance vision impairment, affecting 108 million persons, and the second most common cause of blindness globally The economic burden of uncorrected distance refractive error, largely caused by myopia, was estimated to be US$202 billion per annum myopia brings further vision challenges because high myopia increases the risk of pathologic ocular changes such as cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic macular degeneration, all of which can cause irreversible vision loss the prevalence of myopia is more than 2 times higher among East Asians than similarly aged white persons the prevalence of myopia in different countries seems to be increasing, and most dramatically among younger people in East Asia the most common definition of myopia was spherical equivalent of -0.50 diopter (D) or less  the most common definition of high myopia was defined as -5.00 D or less (-6.00 is common as well)

In the year 2000, this prevalence of myopia was 1406 million (22.9% of the global population)     uncertainty interval (932 to 1932 million) In the year 2010, this prevalence increases to 1950 million (28.3% of the global population)     uncertainty interval (1422 to 2543 million) This is projected to increase to 2620 million in 2020, 3361 million by 2030, 4089 million by 2040     and to 4758 million by 2050 ~50% of the global population!! In the year 2000, this prevalence of high myopia was 163 million (2.7% of the global population) In the year 2010, this prevalence of high myopia was 277 million (4.0% of the global population This is projected to increase to 399 million in 2020, to 517 million by 2030, to 696 million by 2040 and to 938 million by 2050, ~10% of the global population!! The projected increases in myopia and high myopia are widely considered to be driven by environmental factors (nurture), principally lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities, among other factors

Genetic predisposition also seems to play a role, but cannot explain the temporal trends observed over a short period Among environmental factors, so-called high pressure educational systems, especially at very young ages in countries such as Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and China, may be a causative lifestyle change, as may the excessive use of near electronic devices Other proposed causes include light levels, which may be directly related to time outdoors, with peripheral hyperopia in the myopic eye (corrected and uncorrected) encouraging axial growth, and diet The number of people with vision loss resulting from high myopia would increase 7-fold from 2000 to 2050, and myopia would become a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide We have not taken into account the effect of myopia control interventions that may take place between now and 2050 Changes in lifestyle, successive improvement, and the uptake of myopia control could substantially reduce the number of people with myopia and high myopia

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