New Report: About 1 billion Persons May Be At Risk Of Blindness By 2050
No fewer than one billion people could be at risk of blindness by the middle of the century if an emerging short-sightedness –myopia- epidemic is ignored, say researchers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute.
Also, half of the world’s population (nearly 5 billion) will be myopic by 2050 they predict, with up to one-fifth of them (1 billion) in the high myopia category, and at a significantly increased risk of blindness, if behavioural interventions and optical treatments are not developed and implemented.
Currently, it’s estimated that over 2 billion people in the world suffer from myopia.
“Today is World Sight Day and Brien Holden Vision Institute is calling on the world – from governments and health agencies, to civil society, parents and schools – to protect the eye health of every child and adult and meet this major public health challenge of our time,” said Professor Kovin Naidoo, acting CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute.
“Firstly, the public must be made aware that this threat exists. Secondly, we need researchers and public health practitioners to develop effective solutions. Thirdly, eye care professionals need to be better equipped to manage patients at risk,” added Professor Naidoo.
“The major concern is with the vast number of people who are likely to progress to high levels of myopia, which brings with it a significantly increased risk of potentially blinding conditions and vision impairment,” said Professor Naidoo.
“Myopia is not curable or reversible, but there are promising interventions using optical and behavioural approaches that can help slow the progression and prevent people becoming highly myopic.”
According to the Institute, reducing the progression of myopia in individuals by 50 per cent, will prevent almost 90 per cent of myopes reaching high levels of myopia.
“Brien Holden Vision Institute urges parents and teachers to act now,” added Professor Naidoo. “Parents should encourage their children to spend time outdoors for at least two hours each day. They should also ensure children don’t spend too much time on electronic devices, such as tablets, mobile phones, electronic games, television and other activities which requires them to focus close up for long periods.
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