The Role of Myopia in 2020 Uncorrected Global Visual Impairment

Previous estimates of the prevalence of global uncorrectable visual impairment (VI) have not accounted for the increasing prevalence of myopia, particularly in older individuals.

Age distribution of the global population in 2020 were taken from Overall prevalence of myopia (<–0.50 D) of 33.9% was used, based on Holden et al. (2016). Distribution of myopia, by severity, was calculated using the model of Brennan et al. (2020) Uncorrectable VI as a function of age and refractive error was modelled by multiple linear regression (Bullimore et al., 2021) from a large data set of an advanced European population (Tideman et al., 2016).

We estimate that some 29% of global uncorrectable VI is attributable to myopia. Failure to account for the increasing prevalence of myopia among the aging population leads to a substantial underestimate of the prevalence of VI. In our 2020 model each 1% increase in myopia prevalence results in an additional 1.2 million VI. Projecting for 2050, each 1% increase in myopia is associated with 2.7 million increased VI. Approaches that treat diseases associated with myopia are needed to reduce VI, along with programs that reduce myopia prevalence and severity.

Publication date

June 1, 2022


IOVS, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science


Monica Jong; Noel A Brennan; Mark A Bullimore
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