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.

More like this

Multiple news sources have been covering this recent article in JAMA (1) which provides epidemiological evidence that being overweight (but not obese) may decrease the risk of some illnesses, while not increasing one's overall mortality from cardiovascular disease. Given that we've talked about…
That's "lesbian" as in "a lesbian person" not a lawyer who specializes in "lesbian law," whatever that might be. Most people think Obama will pick a woman, in part because only one of the nine seated justices is female at present. But it appears that at least one short list is forming up that…
As the public health community mourns the loss of a great scientist and colleague, The Pump Handle would like to share some of what has been written about Kate Mahaffey.  Please leave your own remembrances in the comments section below. "I have known Kathryn as a colleague for more than a decade,…
Via Marginal Revolution, Has Overweight Become the New Normal? Evidence of a Generational Shift in Body Weight Norms: We test for differences across the two most recent NHANES survey periods (1988-1994 and 1999-2004) in self-perception of weight status. We find that the probability of self-…

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.