A pilot myopia awareness week kicked off in NSW today to raise awareness of an alarming increase in prevalence in Australia and to highlight the critical role optometrists play in identifying and treating myopia.
Studies around Sydney have shown a doubling of rates of myopia in recent decades. It is predicted that in 2020, more than one-third (36 per cent) of Australians will be short sighted (myopic) and by 2050, 55 per cent of the nation's population will have the condition.
Myopia awareness week goes from May 14-18 and the website features a host of information and resources on the topic.
The purpose of raising awareness is to alert people that myopia is a progressive condition but that progression can be controlled if detected early enough and optometrists can provide treatment options as standard glasses do not prevent the condition from progressing.
Five facts you should know about myopia
- Both environmental and genetic factors are thought to play a role in the development of myopia with some evidence for insufficient outdoor time.
- Myopia is a progressive condition.
- The progression of myopia can be controlled if the condition is detected early enough.
- High myopia significantly increases the risk of potentially blinding conditions such as cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment, myopic maculopathy and macular degeneration.
- Glasses are not the only option for you or your child; ask your optometrist about other treatment options.