A new study suggesting half the world’s population could be near-sighted by 2050 underpins the overwhelming importance of acting early to address eyesight problems, according to Vision Express.
The report, published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, analyses the findings of 145 different studies into levels and causes of myopia, which can lead to vision problems including macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma.
Its authors say there are diverse – and conflicting – views on why myopia is increasing, including suggestions such as genetics, changing exposure to light due to less time spent outdoors and the use of electronic screens.
Taking the findings of the various studies into account, they project that by 2050, as many as 5 billion people - or half the projected global population - may be myopic. Of those, 1 billion would have more-serious high degree myopia.
Omar Hassan, Vision Express head of professional services, says while there remain conflicting views on why myopia can occur, the predictions highlight how crucial it is to have regular eye tests.
“The key message is that many eye health conditions can be prevented or effectively managed if they are detected early enough,” he says.
“While we need to be careful to avoid scaremongering with reports on vision impairment, what’s not in dispute is that technology has changed our lives at work and home enormously.
“So as lifestyles continue to change, causing new and different demands on our eyes, it’s vital to make sure you have your eyes checked regularly.”
The new study acknowledges that its predictions don’t take into account measures which might be taken to tackle the issue, and admits that decisive action could drastically reduce the numbers.
Omar Hassan agrees: “Whatever the causes, the uptake of professional care can clearly help reduce the projected spread of myopia and associated conditions. At Vision Express, our focus remains firmly on using the latest technology to deliver eye examinations to the highest possible standards.”
To help tackle the nation’s risk of poor eye health, Vision Express has forged partnerships with a range of UK charities relevant to vision, with its optometrists specially trained to support customers affected by conditions such as stroke, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
The study acknowledges some studies which suggest time spent outdoors can be good for vision.
But Omar Hassan warns: “We urge parents to ensure children have their eyes adequately protected though, to avoid exposure to UV light which can cause unnecessary damage even on cloudy and winter days.
“Most of the damage to vision caused by UV takes place before adulthood, so sunglasses are vital to protect youngsters’ sight.”
Vision Express advice is to have an eye examination every two years, though for some children at risk of hereditary eye sight problems, it could be as often as annually. Vision Express can also offer special ‘Blue Protect’ lens coatings to counteract the effects of glare from electronic devices.
About Vision Express
Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating across 43 countries, spanning over 5,800 stores and online.
With more than 390 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.
Vision Express is considered one of the leading and most trusted opticians in the UK and Ireland, with its European offering supported through sister eye care brands Grand Optical, Solaris and Generale D'Optique.
With around 4,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:
- Alzheimer’s Research UK
- Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
- International Glaucoma Association
- Macular Society
- Stroke Association
- Temple Street University Hospital.