Over 40% of people in the US today have a severe enough vision issue to need glasses, meanwhile, an estimated 1/3 of the global population will be nearsighted by 2020. Furthermore, while ~30% of Americans are nearsighted (need helping seeing objects far away) a whopping ~60% are farsighted (need help seeing objects up close) due to either hyperopia (childhood farsightedness) or presbyopia (farsightedness caused by aging).Whether you wear glasses or a contacts brand like Acuvue, these stats help give you a basic understanding of how the vision landscape stands today. According to many reports, vision issues are only getting worse with the huge prevalence of screens in today’s world and with students hitting the books earlier in life.
Background info on Nearsightedness and Farsightedness:
Nearsightedness, also known as Myopia, is when you can see objects up close, but struggle to see objects at a distance. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) the prevalence of Myopia has increased from 25% of the population in the 1970’s, to over 40% in the US today.
Nearsightedness is most commonly found during a vision test, whereby 20/20 vision is normal (not needing corrective lenses). If instead, you have 20/30 vision, this means that standing 20 feet away you can read what other people can read standing 30 feet away. The same idea is true for 20/50 (you read from 20 feet what others can read from 50 feet away) on up to 20/200 vision which makes you legally blind.
On a vision test, 20/20 is not perfect. If you have 20/15 vision, it means you can read at 20 feet what other people can on average only see from 15 feet away, so this is better than average vision.
Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, on the other hand, is when you can see objects that are faraway, but struggle to see items that are up close (such as a book or a menu). Farsightedness is far more prevalent amongst people in the US–that said, it is generally a less severe and limiting issue than nearsightedness and many people with light forms of farsightedness, don’t use corrective vision.
Farsightedness can also be found in a vision test, although for people with mild farsightedness, a normal vision test might not find the issue.
Causes of myopia and hyperopia:
Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects look blurred.
Myopia typically forms during childhood, and while research shows that myopia can be inherited, research also shows that myopia can be caused by how children use their eyes. If a child spends considerable time reading, using computers or doing other close reading tasks this can cause myopia to develop or worsen during childhood and is one of the reasons why myopia is becoming more common today.
Myopia tends to stabilize by early adulthood.
Farsightedness, on the other hand, occurs when the eyeball is too short, which prevents incoming light from focusing directly on the retina. Hyperopia = can also be caused by an abnormal shape of the cornea or lens. Hyperopia can affect both children and adults and like myopia, research shows that there is a genetic component.
Many people are born with hyperopia, however, for some children this goes away with age. After this correction, roughly 5-10% of all Americans will suffer from hyperopia; however, far more will suffer from Presbyopia, a form of farsightedness caused by aging.
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