Half the world population will suffer from myopia by 2050, experts predict
By 2050 it is estimated that half the projected world population will have myopia (short-sightedness), and it is not just due to mobile phone use. Myopia is reaching epidemic levels in our society. By 2020, an estimated 33 per cent of the world population will be myopic, representing 2750 million people. By 2030, 40 per cent of the population will be myopic, accounting for just over 3300 million people. And by 2040, 46 per cent of the population will be myopic, which is just over 4000 million people.
By 2050, 52 per cent of the world population will be suffering from myopia and will need glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery unless something is done about it. These figures come from the Brien Holden Vision Institute, following research by Holden, Fricke, Wilson, Jong, Naidoo, Sankaridurg, Wong, Naduvilath, and Resnikoff.
The phenomenon of myopia (short-sightedness) is rampant in Asia. In China, only 15 per cent of the population was known to be myopic in the middle of the 20th century, but current estimates indicate that 90 per cent of young people in adolescence already have myopia. In the South Korean town of Seoul, the researchers have calculated that 96 per cent young people are already myopic at the age of 19 years.
In Europe, an estimated 6 in 10 young people born between 1990 and the year 2000 are myopes; in other words, 60 per cent of those in the 18 to 28 age group already require spectacle or contact lens correction. This age group is considered too young for laser refractive surgery.
Today, youngsters up to the age of 15 are even more likely to be short-sighted and, in Europe, the incidence of myopia in this age group is estimated to be 80 per cent to 90 per cent already. Each year the percentage will be higher. There is roughly a 10 per cent increase per decade.
Myopia is a defect in a person’s vision, with the onset usually occurring in childhood. Miss Naz Raoof is the paediatric ophthalmologist at Clinica London, who specialises in dealing with children’s eye problems and refractive errors such as myopia. Mr Sajjad Ahmad looks after adult patients with these conditions.