5 Billion People All Around The Globe Are At Greater Risk Of Being Short-Sighted By 2050

By Ellainie Calangian, Parent Herald February 23, 05:20 am

A recent study, printed in the journal Ophthalmology, reveals that about 5 billion people in the world will be myopic or short-sighted and about 1 billion people with high myopes will be at greater risk of blindness by 2050. WebMD cited that about 1 in 3 people in the U.K. are affected with myopia or short-sightedness, an eye condition wherein a person sees things in distance as being blurred yet he can see clearly when the object is near.

Myopia can be inherited in the family and usually occurs in childhood. This is worsening in age if not corrected. It can be treated through the use of contact lenses, eyeglasses and refractive surgery.

"The rapid increase in the prevalence of myopia globally is attributed to, 'environmental factors (nurture), principally lifestyle changes resulting from as combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities, among the factors," the authors of Brien Holden Vision Institutes, University of New South Wales Australia and Singapore Eye Research Institute said.

Science Daily reported that the authors of the study suggested having comprehensive eye care services to control the fast increase of myopia together with the development of the treatment of the said eye condition.

"We also need to ensure our children receive a regular eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably each year, so that preventative strategies can be employed if they are at risk," Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute and the co-author of the study said. "These strategies may include increased time outdoors and reduced time spent on near based activities including electronic devices that require constant focusing up close."

He likewise concluded that there are other options that may be taken into account. Some exclusively designed spectacle lenses and contact lenses or drug interventions can be good aids. However, increased investment in research is needed to improve the effectiveness and access of such interventions.

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