The development and progression of early onset myopia is actively being investigated. While myopia is often considered a benign condition it should be considered a public health problem for its visual, quality of life, and economic consequences. Nearly half of the visually impaired population in the world has uncorrected refractive errors, with myopia a high percent of that group. Uncorrected visual acuity should be screened for and treated in order to improve academic performance, career opportunities and socio-economic status.Genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset and progression of myopia. Twin studies have supported genetic factors and research continues to identify myopia genetic loci. While multiple myopia genetic loci have been identified establishing myopia as a common complex disorder, there is not yet a genetic model explaining myopia progression in populations.Environmental factors include near work, education levels, urban compared to rural location, and time spent outdoors. In this field of study where there continues to be etiology controversies, there is recent agreement that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to become myopic.Worldwide population studies, some completed and some in progress, with a common protocol are gathering both genetic and environmental cohort data of great value. There have been rapid population changes in prevalence rates supporting an environmental influence.Interventions to prevent juvenile myopia progression include pharmacologic agents, glasses and contact lenses. Pharmacological interventions over 1-2. year trials have shown benefits. Peripheral vision defocus has been found to affect the emmetropization process and may be affected by wearing glasses or contacts. Accommodation accuracy also has been implicated in myopia progression.Further research will aim to assess both the role and interaction of environmental influences and genetic factors.
- Refractive error
ASJC Scopus subject areas