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The Growing Problem of Myopia in Northern Ireland: What You Need to Know


What is myopia?

Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a common eye condition causing distant objects to appear blurry while near objects remain in focus.

It occurs when the eyeball grows too long or the curvature of the cornea becomes too steep. This change in the shape of the eye causes light to focus in front of the retina, instead of directly on it. This is called refractive error.

The excessive elongation of the eye over time can also lead to an increased risk of eye conditions such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and cataracts. Myopia typically progresses until early adulthood. 


What is the prevalence of myopia in NI?

In Northern Ireland, currently nearly 1 in 5 teenagers are myopic (NICER study, Ulster University). Globally, an estimated 50% of the population may be short-sighted by 2050. 


At what age could my child develop myopia?

What is genetic risk vs environmental risk?

Myopia can affect anyone, with both environmental and genetic factors contributing to its development and progression.

Excessive time spent indoors, on screens, and close-work may increase the likelihood of developing myopia.

If a parent has myopia, this may also raise the chances of a child becoming myopic.

On average, myopia develops between ages 7-13. 


All children should have regular eye examinations with an optician.

Limit the amount of time spent on tablets, phones and hand held devices.

Spend time outside every day.




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