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The increasing prevalence of myopia in children

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

The number of children with myopia in the United Kingdom has doubled over the last fifty years. Not only that, but children are also starting to develop short-sightedness at an earlier age, with primary school-age children now regularly being diagnosed with myopia. [1]

Those conclusions from an ongoing study into childhood vision have been supported by other studies, with genetic and environmental factors all having been identified as playing their part. Such is the increase in childhood myopia that it has been estimated that half of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

The sooner that childhood myopia is identified, the better the chances of slowing down its progression by adopting remedial therapies. For example, myopia therapy glasses not only correct vision but also manage the way in which light falls on the retina. This helps to slow down changes in the eye which lead to myopic progression.

But corrective lenses are only part of the solution. Cutting down on close reading and screen time can also help to slow myopia development. Spending more time outdoors has also been shown to be beneficial; with one 2021 study commenting that its findings suggest that ‘if children were to increase time spent outdoors from 1 to 3  hours each day, their risk of myopia could be reduced by 50%.’[2]

If you're a parent whose child has been diagnosed with myopia, or if they are struggling with their distance vision, we hope you found MyopiaFocus helpful. Please join our community or sign our petition to get the government and NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease/serious ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.

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