In a report from 2015, the World Health Organization stated that myopia should be considered a key risk factor for ocular pathologies that can lead to blindness (1). Myopia is therefore a public health imperative that concerns all healthcare professionals and the competent authorities.
The report echoes the increase observed over the past two decades in the prevalence of myopia around the world, and in particular the spike in cases of high myopia (>5D), which is associated with the most harmful effects in terms of ocular health (2). Nearly 90% of the populations of certain Asian countries are already myopic, and Europe (3) and North America are not far behind – nearly 50% of their populations will be myopic by 2050, double the prevalence observed in the 1970s and 1980s. Worldwide, the rate of high myopia will soon reach 10%, a three-fold increase compared to the same reference period.
In light of these facts, it is only natural that eyecare professionals and other industry players around the world are doing their best to halt the unprecedented growth of pathological myopia. A recent series of eight articles presents what we currently know about the identifiable causes of this boom in myopia, both genetic and epigenetic, as well as proven interventions and potential new approaches suggested by the available data (4). Although many of the questions raised by the research remain unanswered, we can already identify some promising intervention options (5) and predict the ones that will allow us to stem the myopia epidemic.
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Fig 1 & 2: The authors Dr Langis Michaud, Dr Patrick Simard, Dr Rémy Marcotte-Collard
INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE EN LENTILLES CORNÉENNES DE MONTRÉAL (IRLCM)
Université de Montréal