Myopia rates in children set to increase by 200 million by 2050

New research has highlighted the growth rate and prevalence of myopia across the world

Sightgeist conference

Myopia rates among children are set to increase from 300 million today to 500 million by 2050, according to global charity Clearly.

The research was revealed during the charity’s Sightgeist conference which was held at the Science Museum in London yesterday (28 March).

The charity highlighted that current levels of myopia in children are affecting the potential of the human race and will become worse as rates continue to rise.

Founder of Clearly, James Chen, said: “Almost 700 years after glasses were first invented it is astonishing that a third of the world still cannot see clearly. Poor vision has a devastating impact on quality of life: children can't see the blackboard, workers can't reach their full potential, and countless lives are put at risk as drivers get behind the wheel without being able to see properly.”

The report predicts that rates of myopia in China will rise considerably by 2050 with 65.7% (120 million) children affected by the eye condition. This is an increase of around 20% from the predicted figure for 2020 (46.9%).

Mexico will see the largest increase in myopia prevalence among school aged children with figures rising from 37% in 2020 to 59% in 2050.

Clearly noted that vision campaigners have highlighted that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals cannot be met if a quarter of school age children are living with untreated poor vision.

Mr Chen added: “Unless we act now, the numbers of people with poor vision, especially children, will grow and grow. But if businesses and governments throughout the world took this issue seriously, we could make a profound impact on countless lives.”

Guest speakers at the Sightgeist event included June Sarpong and Professor Brian Cox, who are pictured above with Mr Chen.