Myopia – or short-sightedness – is becoming more common across Europe, according to a study by King’s College London. Around a quarter Europeans are short-sighted but it is nearly twice as common in younger people, with almost half (47 per cent) of those aged 25-29 affected.
The study found a strong link between myopia and level of education, with levels in those completing higher education around double to those educated to primary school level. However, while younger generations have spent more time in education, this does not fully explain why myopia is becoming more common.
Myopia generally develops during childhood and adolescence and causes blurred vision that has to be corrected by glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. High myopia carries a risk of sight-threatening conditions such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.
The academics admit they do not fully understand the reasons for the shift, but at the very least it is good news of opticians and spectacle makers.