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WHAT IS MYOPIA?
Myopia or nearsightedness is the most common refractive error of the eye. Myopia is a vision condition in which people can see close objects clearly, but objects farther away appear blurry. People with myopia can have difficulty seeing road signs while driving, watching a movie or seeing the board from the back of a classroom.
The exact cause for nearsightedness is unknown, however research has shown evidence that many people inherit myopia and have an increased risk when both parents are nearsighted. Also, individuals who spend more time reading, working at a computer, or doing other intense near work may be more likely to develop myopia. Both genetic predisposition and environmental factors can greatly increase one’s risk for developing nearsightedness at an earlier age and far surpassed their parent’s nearsightedness.
For this reason, myopia has received a lot of attention in recent years due to the increase prevalence of myopia in the United States and around the world. A recent study by the National Eye Institute (NEI) shows the prevalence of myopia grew from 25 percent of the U.S. population (ages 12 to 54) in 1971-1972 to a whopping 41.6 percent in 1999-2004. Furthermore, countries such as China and Korea have myopic populations greater than 90% and myopia has been recognized as a health epidemic in those nations.