The underestimated role of myopia in uncorrectable visual impairment in the United States
The study estimates the future prevalence of uncorrectable visual impairment in the United States in 2050, considering the aging population and the changing prevalence of myopia. Myopia increases the risk of eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and myopic maculopathy, all of which can lead to visual impairment. The study uses a model that accounts for age, refractive error, and the relationship between visual impairment and these factors. Key findings include: if the prevalence of myopia in the US reaches 58.4% by 2050, it is projected that 43% of uncorrectable visual impairment cases (a total of 11.4 million) will be attributed to myopia. In contrast, if myopia prevalence remains at 33.1%, it will still account for 27% of visual impairment cases (8.9 million). The study highlights the substantial role myopia will play in causing visual impairment in the US and emphasizes that both low and high levels of myopia contribute to this problem. It also suggests that efforts to prevent myopia or slow its progression could have a significant public health impact.