BETHESDA, Md., January 2010 — The prevalence of myopia among Americans increased significantly during the 30 years ending in 2004, according to the National Eye Institute.
Researchers examined results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of people ages 12 to 54. The myopia incidence rate increased from 25 percent in 1971-1972 to 41.6 percent in 1999-2004.
In both time frames, the prevalence was higher in white individuals than blacks. Myopia cases among black individuals increased from 13 percent to 33.5 percent. Among whites, myopia prevalence increased from 26.3 percent to 43 percent.
According to the report in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, the high prevalence costs Americans billions of dollars each year in vision correction. The authors stated that identifying myopia risk factors could lead to more cost-effective strategies.