Myopia is one of the most common eye anomalies in the world especially in Asian populations as compared to European and African population1. In Malaysia, the prevalence of myopia in school children was found to be 9.8% for children aged 7 year old and 34.4% for children aged 15 year old based on a WHO sponsored study in Gombak, Malaysia in 2003 2. Today, the prevalence is expected to be higher in keeping with similar trends observed worldwide.
Medical studies show that the prevalence of myopia is influenced by genetic and environmental factors.
Myopia tends to run in families where if one or both parents are myopic, the children are very likely to develop myopia. Research showed that children with both myopic parents have a six-fold or higher increase in risk of developing juvenile myopia 3. In addition to myopia onset, research also revealed that the children with at least 1 myopic parent have a higher rate of myopia progression (0.63Diopter/year) compared to children without myopic parents (0.42Diopter/year)4 .
Ethnicity is another risk factor for progression of myopia. There is higher prevalence and progression of myopia in the Asian population compared to people of European or African descent. In the refractive error study in Gombak, Malaysia, prevalence of myopia is highest among Chinese children (30.9%), followed by Indian children (12.5%) and Malay children (9.2%)2 .