Looks like losing distance vision epidemic is real. Researchers at Brien Holden Vision Institute have announced that by 2050, half of the world’s population – which is nearly 5 billion – will suffer from myopia or short-sightedness, a vision condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects appear blurred.
According to the study published in the journal Ophthalmology, if current trends of close range activities such as sitting in front of a computer for long hours continue, the number of people suffering from myopia is expected to increase seven-fold from 2000 to 2050 with one-fifth of them, which is 1 billion, at a greater risk of permanent blindness.
For this vision impaired epidemic, researchers mostly blame “environmental factors (nurture), principally lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities, among other factors.” Also, since their findings present a major public health problem, they suggest that planning for comprehensive eye care services would be a wise idea; and the development of treatments to control the progression of myopia and prevent people from becoming highly myopic is needed the most.
“We also need to ensure our children receive a regular eye examination from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably each year, so that preventative strategies can be employed if they are at risk,” said co-author Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute in a news release. “These strategies may include increased time outdoors and reduced time spent on near based activities including electronic devices that require constant focussing up close.
“Furthermore there are other options such as specially designed spectacle lenses and contact lenses or drug interventions but increased investment in research is needed to improve the efficacy and access of such interventions.”