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Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2016 Nov/Dec;5(6):394-402.

Epidemiology of Pathologic Myopia in Asia and Worldwide.

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From the *Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore; †Essilor Center of Innovation & Technology, AMERA; ‡Singapore Eye Research Institute; and §Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.


The myopia epidemic in Asia is evident because the prevalence of high myopia among young adults is higher among Asian (6.8%-21.6%) compared with non-Asian populations (2.0%-2.3%). High myopia is linked to pathologic myopia (PM), which may cause irreversible visual impairment (VI). This review will highlight updates on the prevalence of PM and the associated VI from PM. The prevalence of PM among the middle-aged and elderly (0.9%-3.1%) is higher than the prevalence among children and adolescents (<0.2%). The PM lesions detected among older adults include advanced lesions, such as posterior staphyloma, chorioretinal atrophy, lacquer cracks, and Fuchs spot (in descending frequency of occurrence). A relatively high prevalence of PM (8%) was recently reported among highly myopic young adults. As young individuals grow older, the early grades of PM lesions are likely to progress to advanced grades. Two longitudinal changes that occur frequently in PM include the enlargement of beta peripapillary atrophy and the development of chorioretinal atrophy. The lack of longitudinal changes in PM limits the causal inferences of PM. The prevalence of VI attributed to PM seems to be higher among Asian populations compared with Western and European populations. Pathologic myopia is ranked as a more important cause of blindness and low vision in Asian populations compared with Western and European populations. With the lack of effective treatment strategies and poor prognosis, PM threatens the vision health of populations in Asia and worldwide. To control this future epidemic, the prevention of myopia onset and progression is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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