The causes of pediatric myopia are still a mystery. While genetic factors likely play a role, the transition from outdoor activity with visual focus at ever-changing distances to close vision activities seems to be contributor. And there is growing evidence that atropine can slow progression.
The OTA group found 98 citations in the literature, reviewed 23 articles and included 18 articles in its assessment. Most of the studies conducted to date have been done in Asian populations, she noted, but trials conducted in the United States in other racial and ethnic populations show similar results.
Along with cataract, glaucoma, trachoma and onchocerciasis, myopia is one of five conditions identified as an immediate priority by the World Health Organization’s Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness, she noted.
Myopia remains the most common medical condition requiring treatment in developed countries. It affects about half the adult population of the United States and the pediatric prevalence has jumped from 25% to 42% over the past 30 years. Myopic maculopathy is one of the top five causes of blindness in the United States, UK, Ireland and Israel.
Rates are even higher in Asia, Dr. Pineles said. The prevalence of myopia doubled in Singapore from 1987 to 1992 and again from 1992 to 2009. Myopic maculopathy is the second most common cause of low vision in Beijing. The causes of pediatric myopia are still a mystery, she added. While genetic factors likely play a role, the transition from outdoor activity with visual focus at ever-changing distances to close vision activities such as reading, and screen use seems to be an important contributor. And there is growing evidence that atropine can slow progression once myopia is identified in certain cases.
Stacy Pineless, MD
Dr. Pineles did not indicate any proprietary interest in the subject matter