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What’s a Myopia Epidemic?

An estimated 5 billion people  -nearly half the world’s population-  will be nearsighted by 2050.  Of these, 20% (1 billion people) are at high risk of serious ocular maladies that can lead to permanent blindness.

Today 86% of young people in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan are nearsighted. In South Korea 96.5% of young males screened for the military conscription are myopic. Estimates among Singaporean youth are as high as 90%. By contrast, the overall rate of myopia in UK is about 35%. In the USA, 45% are nearsighted – but these numbers have risen so precipitously in the last decade that it is now considered a critical public health issue.

Because myopia increases the risk of exposing today’s youth to debilitating vision loss, one cannot overstate the magnitude of the potential career-related health crisis exponentially rising in the most economically progressive and best-educated populations in the world.

WHY MAKE THIS FILM?

Myopia is rapidly becoming a worldwide public health concern, yet most parents do not know what myopia is and even fewer recognize the health risk that their children might develop later in life.  Vision scientists assert that there’s no safe amount of myopia because any amount of myopia raises risk of associated blinding maladies : Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Retinal Detachment.

For most people the names of these diseases are words without much meaning and none of us wants to imagine life without sight.

However, it’s now well-established that the younger a person becomes myopic, the earlier in life they become susceptible to these ocular pathologies.

The likelihood of developing myopia, particularly high myopia, increases when one or both parents are nearsighted.  This is more than just a matter of kids needing glasses to read the blackboard, yet many eye doctors hesitate to tell parents of the risks their children face.

“We don’t want to frighten them.”

Understanding potential risks and getting information on possible solutions is exactly what parents and patients need to evaluate curent and future options for managing myopia progression.

A Brewster Pond Production