*Uncorrected myopia is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

* It will affect half the global population by 2050 and its complications can cause irreversible visual loss.

* Over 2 billion people are estimated to have myopia

*Myopia is the ability to see near objects clearly with an inability to see distant objects clearly. < or = – 0.5 dioptres(D)

*High myopia is – 5 D. It is an irreversible eye and life-long condition. It can lead to physical changes in the eye, at which point it is referred to as pathologic myopia.

Later in life, people with this condition are at risk of potentially blinding eye conditions such as macular degeneration, retinal detachment, open-angle glaucoma and cataract

* Myopia is as a result of abnormal elongation of the eye or the cornea too curved so that light focuses in front of the retina rather than on its surface

* Lifestyle and environmental changes (less near work and more time outside) helps protect children against the onset of myopia.

Symptoms and signs

Poor distance vision

Viewing objects from an unusually short distance

Poor concentration in school

Squinting or peering through narrowed eyes

Frontal headaches

Causes

Genetic predisposition

Environmental factors associated with urbanisation(reading, writing and visual works while using the computer)

Increased near work and lack of time spent outdoors

There are reports implicating factors such as town planning( environment that do not permit outdoor activities) and diet (higher saturated fat and cholesterol intake)

Ways of reducing myopia in children younger than 12 years.

Encouraging a balanced lifestyle for the purpose of eye health

Improving ‘visual hygiene’ (sensible working distances, regular breaks from near tasks, good illumination)

Making the educational environment ‘anti-myopic’ (e.g., bright classrooms)

Incorporating outdoor time into education

Limiting children’s screen time

Supporting town planning that encourages children and families to spend time outdoors

Myopia can be corrected using spectacle or contact lenses of the correct power.

Regular eye examination is very important.

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