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Are More People Nearsighted Now Then in the Past?

It appears so. A study in the December 2009 issue of Archives Of Ophthalmology found a 66% increase in myopia when comparing the periods of 1971-1972 and 1999-2004. This is a huge change over a thirty year period. The new study tried to simulate the testing methods of the original 1972 study on nearsightedness in the US population. The 1971-1972 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 25% of the US population between the ages of 12 and 54 were nearsighted vs. the 1994-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s finding of 41.6%. Increased nearsightedness was noted regardless of age, sex, race, or education.

 The authors concluded that it would be beneficial to identify behavioral risk factors that cause increased myopia. If risk factors for increasing myopia are identified, we may be able to slow the progression.