Myopia or nearsightedness is the inability to see things clearly at a distance. These people require glasses to see far away. In the 1970s, only 25% of Americans were myopic. Today that number is 42%. That is a 66% increase. The National Eye Institute believes that 39 million Americans will be nearsighted (myopic) by the year 2020. It isn’t just in the US that we are seeing this shift. In Canada, 72.4% of people age 20-24 are nearsighted. In Taiwan 84% of individuals aged 16-18 are nearsighted. And in South Korea, just looking at 19-year-old males, 96.5% are myopic.
What is causing this myopic epidemic? The studies are unclear, but the thought is that it may be linked to the increasing use of computers and near work. Children are spending less time outside and more time fixated on a screen.
What is the problem with myopia: High levels of myopia doubles the risk of serious ocular health problems like retinal detachments, cataracts, and glaucoma. The risk of retinopathy for high myopes increase with age.
What can we do about myopia? Is there any way to stop the development of myopia? Over the last few years, research has proven three different ways to manage the progression of myopia. Myopia progression can be managed by using executive bifocals, multifocal soft lenses, low dose atropine and hard lenses that shape the cornea when you are sleeping. These lenses are called Ortho K.