Keeping an eye on myopia during Myopia Awareness Week

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is a common eye condition that causes poor or blurry vision when looking at distant objects. It affects people all around the world, but it’s especially prevalent in children (check out this blurred vision simulator to see what vision for a myopic child would look like in a classroom).

Studies have predicted a worrisome increase in myopia worldwide. In 2010, around 28% of the world's population, or two billion people, had myopia. However, if current trends continue, by 2050, it's expected that myopia will affect about 50% of the global population, reaching a staggering five billion people.

If not treated, myopia can gradually get worse and can lead to blindness. Uncorrected myopia is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Myopia Awareness Week: “Keep an Eye on Myopia”

Myopia Awareness Week, held from May 22-26, is a special week that aims to shed light on the growing prevalence of myopia while highlighting the importance of early detection and preventive measures. Led by the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI), the theme this year is “Keep an Eye on Myopia”, promoting the need to make myopia management essential for children, to aid in the global effort slow the progression of the condition.

Myopia risk factors

According to the BHVI, two factors play a significant role in myopia: near work and education, as well as low outdoors time.

  1. Near work and education
    The greater the time spent on near work, the greater the risk of myopia – both onset and progression. In children of the same age, those who were in a higher class/grade at school (greater academic load) have a more myopic refractive error.
  2. Low outdoors time
    Those that spend less time outdoors are at significant risk of myopia. The International Myopia Institute recommends spending a minimum of 2 hours outdoors per day!

The importance of early intervention

Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing myopia, especially in children. While it cannot be reversed, several treatment options, from glasses and contact lenses to atropine eye drops, have been developed to help keep myopia from worsening and progressing. It’s important to chat through these different options with your child’s optometrist.

Optometry Australia recommends that all children have an eye exam before they start school and regular eye checks every two to three years after. To schedule an appointment with your local optometrist, .

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