The nearsightedness epidemic affecting the vision of millions of people worldwide is continuing to grow, and change lives.
While the condition can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses and surgery, new studies link myopia to an increasing number of lifestyle and health issues, particularly if left unaddressed.
Myopia is giving rise to more learning difficulties, as well as emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, difficulty socialising, negative personality traits and low self-image in myopics who perceive and understand the world around them differently.
Gary Rodney, Sydney-based fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC), and founder of the Smart Vision Optometry (SVO) system, says the refraction error negatively affects many other vision problems, as well as educational, psychological, behavioural, and physical issues.
‘Everything, including career choices, future plans, action and behaviour, can be affected by nearsightedness. To those with myopia, all of these can seem just as blurred and hard to interpret, understand, or apply to their lives, as those objects they try to look at which are more than twenty feet away,’ said Mr Rodney.
‘Only items close by are clearly seen. This can lead to an adjustment of interests, actions and entire lifestyles to match with what they can see clearly and easily understand.’
Many countries, eye health organisations and practitioners are currently campaigning to increase the awareness regarding myopia and its often-overlooked consequences.
The idea is find ways to prevent, control or manage this incurable (but treatable) impairment, and slow its progression from low myopic levels to the pathological area of high myopia, while reducing the speed at which it’s spreading round the globe.
The Most Common Vision Problem in the World
Myopia is an eye impairment which causes the data-bearing light rays, which carry information on what is seen, to land in front of the retina instead of on it.
It’s now the most common vision problem globally.
Already blurring the vision and lives of one in three people globally, myopia is also affecting far more children every year (and at younger ages) as well as progressing further and faster.
The whole problem has been made worse with greater use of screens and other arms-length devices.
According to Mr Rodney, other vision problems are also increasing in response to myopia’s increasing impact.
It’s increasing the prevalence of cataracts and glaucoma and sometimes delivering its own brand of non-age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of sight.