Search term analysis provides insight on public understanding of myopia

A new study finds ‘myopia’ is a more popular search term than ‘short-sighted’ and ‘near-sighted’

A graph is shown in a close up of a laptop screen

New research published in Optometry and Vision Science has used big data to gain insight into the public understanding of myopia.

Scientists from Anglia Ruskin University, Aston University and University of Bradford examined Google Trends data from January 2004 to August 2023.

The researchers found that ‘myopia’ was a more common search term than common alternatives, such as ‘nearsighted’ or ‘shortsighted.’

‘Myopia control’ was also more commonly used as a search term than ‘myopia management.’ In the UK, relative search volumes were split 83% in favour of ‘myopia control,’ with 17% searching ‘myopia management.’

Of the interventions examined in the analysis, atropine was the most commonly searched myopia management option, followed by contact lenses and glasses.

The researchers noted that common search terms in relation to myopia corresponded to specific myopia control solutions – rather than concerns about cost, risk or myopia complications.

The study found that, in the UK, cost did not feature within the top 20 searches related to myopia.

“The differences identified in both popularity of myopia-related search terms and specific interventions may provide the basis for improvements in public messaging and facilitate patient-practitioner communication,” the authors highlighted.