The myopia epidemic!

Increased Prevalence of Myopia in the United States Between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004:


Using the 1971-1972 method, the estimated prevalence of myopia in persons aged 12 to 54 years was significantly higher in 1999-2004 than in 1971-1972 (41.6% vs 25.0%, respectively; P -2.0 diopters [D]: 17.5% vs 13.4%, respectively [P -7.9 D: 22.4% vs 11.4%, respectively [P


When using similar methods for each period, the prevalence of myopia in the United States appears to be substantially higher in 1999-2004 than 30 years earlier. Identifying modifiable risk factors for myopia could lead to the development of cost-effective interventional strategies.

Here are some tables:


Citation: Susan Vitale; Robert D. Sperduto; Frederick L. Ferris, III, Increased Prevalence of Myopia in the United States Between 1971-1972 and 1999-2004, Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(12):1632-1639.

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I'm not claiming causation, but I have read that myopia in children is commoner the more light they have in their bedrooms at night.

Myopia is associated with high insulin levels, so this makes sense.

I wonder how much of this (like the autism "epidemic") is down to detection.

I'm severely myopic and knew it from a young age. However, in my rural community, there was no education for parents on vision care. I got my first pair of glasses at age 16, when I was old enough to sort it out for myself.

Parents these days seem to be better informed and vision care is much more available- even in such rural areas.

This would be a case where it might be more useful to use the myopia records at a single school. Take a small town elementary school where the population has been relatively stable over time and see whether myopia has gone up. Then repeat at a few other schools.