Eye conditions


What is myopia?

Myopia, also known as 'short-sightedness' or 'near-sightedness', causes people to have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. It's estimated that there are currently 2 billion myopic people in the world,1 a figure that is growing rapidly.

Axial myopia is caused by the eyeball being too long. This means that instead of focusing on the back of the eye (the retina), light focuses in front of it, causing blurred vision.
  • Myopia usually begins in childhood at school age (six years and onwards) and can worsen until early adult years. This is referred to as youth-onset or juvenile-onset myopia. It can also occur in adults (ages 20 to 40) with no prior history of problems in childhood, termed early adult-onset myopia. One can also be born with high levels of myopia (congenital myopia)
  • Myopia can be corrected by spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery.
  • Myopia affects about 1 in 4 people in Australia, 1 in 3 in America and 1 in 2 in some Asian countries. In 2010, it affected more than a quarter of the world’s population.1
  • Growing levels of high myopia are increasing the risks of serious eye conditions, such as myopic macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and retinal detachment, many of which may lead to permanent blindness.
  • The incidence of myopia has been rapidly increasing across the world. By 2020, it is estimated that the number of people with myopia will grow to one third of the world’s population (2.6 billion) and by 2050 there will be 4.8 billion myopes (around half the world's population).1
  • The causes of myopia are both genetic and environmental. It is suggested that increased urbanisation and close-range activities e.g. reading and computer work, are increasing the incidence of myopia.
  • It is predicted that by 2050 there will be almost 1 billion high myopes globally.1

Other Eye Conditions

In addition to common refractive errors, eye conditions that may impact on your vision and eye health include cataract, conjunctivitis, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Below are brief definitions of some of the more common eye conditions.

is a condition whereby the eye is unable to focus light on the retina. It is also known as ametropia and can be broadly classified as myopia (short-sight), hyperopia (long-sight) or astigmatism.
is also known as long-sightedness. People with hyperopia have blurred near vision but distance vision may be clear. The hyperopic eye is shorter than the normal eye, meaning that light focuses behind the back of the eye (the retina) rather than on it, causing blurred vision. Hyperopia can be corrected with spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery.


  1. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, Jong M, Naidoo KS, Sankaridurg P, Wong TY, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S, Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050, Ophthalmology, May 2016 Volume 123, Issue 5, Pages 1036–1042.
  2. Holden BA, Fricke TR, May Ho S, Wong R, Schlenther G, Cronjé S, Burnett A, Papas E, Naidoo KS, Frick KD, ‘Global vision impairment due to uncorrected presbyopia’, Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol 126 (No. 12), Dec 2009.
  3. International Dry Eye WorkShop Subcommittee, 2007, ‘The epidemiology of dry eye disease: Report of the epidemiology subcommittee of the International Dry Eye WorkShop (2007), The Ocular Surface, April 2007, Vol 5 (2).