Myopia Epidemic in Hong Kong and South East Asia
Shortsightedness or myopia has assumed epidemic proportions in South East Asia over the past few decades. It is the most prevalent refractive error in Hong Kong. The average prevalence of myopia in Hong Kong people born before 1950 is about 30 % whereas it is about 70% people born between 1950 and 1980. Hong Kong Chinese students have a higher prevalence of myopia regardless of whether they attend in local or international schools when compared with other ethnic groups.
The severity of myopia is also escalating and it is common to find young adults with over 5D of myopia in Hong Kong. Similar figures have been reported in other Asian regions including Singapore, Taiwan and Southern China. Alarmingly, more than 80% of the entire adult population will be myopic within the next 30 years. In addition to the cost of myopic refractive correction, there are myopia-related ocular complications which have raised significant health concerns. High myopia is frequently associated with retinal degeneration, peripheral retinal breaks and glaucoma. These conditions may lead to permanent visual loss and blindness.
There is no clinically accepted method in controlling myopic growth at present. The goal of our myopia research is to find ways to retard and, one day, can cure myopia.