5 Facts About Myopia You May Not Know

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Written by Optometrist Megan Lafferty, contact us to book an appointment with Megan.

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a prevalent vision condition in today’s society. While it may seem like a straightforward issue, easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses, there are several aspects of myopia that might surprise you. In this article, we’ll delve into five intriguing facts about myopia that could reshape your understanding of this common eye disorder.

1. Myopia is on the Rise:

Recent years have witnessed a significant surge in the global prevalence of myopia, especially among younger populations.1 It is predicted that by 2050, almost 5 billion people will be short-sighted, which is half the world’s population!1 The increasing reliance on digital devices, prolonged near work, and limited outdoor activities are considered strong contributing factors.2

2. Myopia Varies Across Ethnicities:

The prevalence of myopia varies among different ethnic groups as some populations have notably higher rates of myopia compared to others.3 Genetic factors, along with cultural and environmental influences, contribute to these variations, shedding light on the complex nature of myopia’s origins. Myopia is particularly prevalent in certain East Asian countries like Singapore 3 and it is estimated that by 2050 up to 90% of the children here will be myopic by 18 years old.4

3. Being Myopic Increases Risk of Eye Conditions:

Myopia is a progressive condition that tends to worsen over time evolving into a more severe form of nearsightedness.1 The term ‘Pathological Myopia’ is now widely employed highlighting the strong association between myopia and the elevated risk of developing various eye conditions such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts.5 These conditions pose a threat to both vision and overall eye health.

4. Myopia Management Strategies Exist:

Contrary to popular belief, myopia is not entirely inevitable, and there are strategies to manage its progression. Orthokeratology (ortho-k), speciality glasses & contact lenses, and Atropine eye drops are among the options gaining popularity for myopia control.6 These interventions aim to slow down the progression of myopia to reduce the risk of associated complications.

5. Outdoor Time as a Preventive Measure:

Spending time outdoors has been identified as a potential protective factor against myopia, particularly in children.6 Research indicates that greater exposure to natural light and participation in outdoor activities could potentially lower the likelihood of developing myopia. Therefore, encouraging children to play outside may contribute to maintaining better eye health.

In Summary

Understanding myopia involves recognising the interplay between genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. As myopia rates continue to rise, staying informed about the lesser-known aspects of myopia, individuals can take proactive steps to manage and potentially prevent its progression. Regular eye check-ups are crucial and play an important role in maintaining healthy vision throughout life.


  1. B. A .Holden, T. R. Fricke, D. A. Wilson, M. Jong, K. S. Naidoo, P. Sankaridurg, T. Y. Wong, T. J. Naduvilath, S. Resnikoff. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Epub (2016) doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.01.006 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26875007/)
  2. J. Cooper & A. V. Tkatchenko. A Review of Current Concepts of the Etiology and Treatment of Myopia. Eye Contact Lens (2018) doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000000499 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6023584/)
  3. T. Q. Luong, Y. H. Shu, B. S. Modjtahedi, D.S. Fong, N.Choudry, Y. Tanaka,and C. L. Nau. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Myopia Progression in a Large Diverse Cohort of Paediatric Patients. IOVS (2020) doi:10.1167/iovs.61.13.20 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671858/)
  4. I. Ng, W.T. Yin. Speech by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Eye Health at the Opening of Singapore National Eye Centre’s Myopia Centre. Ministry of Health Singapore (2019) (https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/speech-by-dr-lam-pin-min-senior-minister-of-state-for-health-at-the-opening-of-the-singapore-national-eye-centre-s-myopia-centre-16-august-2019/)
  5. K. Ohno-Matsui, P. Wu, K.Yamashiro, K. Vutipongsatorn, Y. Fang, C.Ming G. Cheung, T. Y. Y. Lai, Y.Ikuno, S.Y. Cohen, A. Gaudric, J. B. Jonas. IMI Pathologic Myopia. IOVS (2021). doi 10.1167/ivos.62.5.5(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33909033/)
  6. J. Cooper & A. V. Tkatchenko. A Review of Current Concepts of the Etiology and Treatment of Myopia. Eye Contact Lens (2018) doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000000499 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6023584/)