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10 Facts You May or May Not Know about Myopia

Myopia – also known as nearsightedness – can be easily explained to patients as a vision condition that causes distant objects to appear blurry. It is becoming more and more prevalent and as a result, is today considered to be the most common refractive error in the world.

January 1, 1970

According to a report published in the Ophthalmology journal in 2016, the total number of people with myopia globally is estimated to increase to 2620 million in 2020 (28.3% of the global population) and 4758 million by 2050 (49.8% of the global population) . Based on these numbers, myopia is now considered to be a worldwide public health issue, and has been identified as an immediate priority in the World Health Organization’s Global Health Initiatives for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness .  

We decided that the topic deserves its own blog post and put together some interesting facts that you (and your patients) may or may not know about myopia. Ready?

Fact number 1

There is a genetic factor in myopia and more than 40 genes have been found to link to nearsightedness. This means that patients are more likely to develop the condition if one or both of their parents are myopic.

Fact number 2

Spending a lot of time focusing on nearby objects in tasks such as writing, reading, and working on a computer can increase the risk of developing myopia.

Fact number 3

Spending time outside may reduce a child’s chances of developing myopia.

Fact number 4

Myopia is more common in certain ethnic groups and regions. For example, in Taiwan and Singapore, the prevalence is 20-30% in children aged 6 to 7 years, and 60-80% in young adults.

Fact number 5

Common symptoms of myopia include blurry vision when looking at distant objects, a need to squint to see clearly, headaches, eye fatigue, and even shoulder pain.

Fact number 6

There are three types of myopia: pathologic myopia (under the age of 6), school-age myopia (between the ages of 6 and 18), and adult-onset myopia (early adulthood between the ages of 20 and 40 and late adulthood over the age of 40).

Fact number 7

Untreated myopia can result in myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Fact number 8

The earlier the onset of myopia, the higher the chance of it developing into “high myopia” (over -5.00 diopters), which also increases the risk of more serious vision problems in adulthood.

Fact number 9

Myopia has been connected with a higher IQ level, though this has not yet been fully proven.

Fact number 10

The global loss of productivity that results from uncorrected myopia is estimated at US$ 202 billion!

We hope you’ve found this information on myopia useful for you and your patients and invite you to read more about myopia on the Shamir website.

Huang J, et al. (2016). Efficacy Comparison of 16 Interventions for Myopia Control in Children. Ophthalmology. 123(4): 697-708.
Goss DA, Rainey BB. Relation of Childhood Myopia Progression to Time of Year. J Am Optom Assoc. 1998 Apr; 69(4): 262-6.
Goss DA, Rainey BB. Relation of Childhood Myopia Progression to Time of Year. J Am Optom Assoc. 1998 Apr; 69(4): 262-6.
Fricke TR, Holden BA, Wilson DA, Schlenther G, Naidoo KS, Resnikoff S, et al. Global cost of correcting vision impairment from uncorrected refractive error. Bull World Health Organ. 2012; 90:728–38.



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