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Short sightedness to take its toll on half of us by 2050


Washington: Parents, you may want to start taking care of your children’s eyes as a new study has suggested that half of the world’s population, which is nearly 5 billion people, will be short-sighted (myopic) by 2050.

The study from Brien Holden Vision Institute, University of New South Wales Australia and Singapore Eye Research Institute further stated that nearly one-fifth of the myopic people will also be at a significantly increased risk of blindness, if current trends continue.

The number with vision loss from high myopia is expected to increase seven-fold from 2000 to 2050, with myopia to become a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide.

The rapid increase in the prevalence of myopia globally is attributed to environmental factors (nurture), principally lifestyle changes resulting from a combination of decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities, among other factors, said the authors.

The findings point to a major public health problem, with the authors suggesting that planning for comprehensive eye care services are needed to manage the rapid increase in high myopes (a five-fold increase from 2000), along with the development of treatments to control the progression of myopia and prevent people from becoming highly myopic.

Co-author Kovin Naidoo said that people also need to ensure that their children receive a regular eye examination from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably each year, so that preventative strategies can be employed if they are at risk.

Naidoo noted that there are other options such as specially designed spectacle lenses and contact lenses or drug interventions but increased investment in research is needed to improve the efficacy and access of such interventions.

The study is published in Ophthalmology. (ANI)

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