COVID-19 and the myopia epidemic

Globally, myopia impacts every 1 in 3 people, on average, and its prevalence is expected to continue to increase. It is projected that 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.¹

In 2020, as the world went into lockdown, concerns were raised about the potential for home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic to exacerbate the global burden of myopia.² Studies have reported an increase in both the number of children who developed myopia (incidence) and the degree to which their myopia worsened (progression) in 2020.3,4 Younger children appear to have been the worst affected with the prevalence among 6- to 8-year-olds increasing by 1.4 to 3 times in 2020 compared to the previous five years.5

This “quarantine myopia” has been attributed to the increase in digital device use for online learning and the limited amount of outdoor time due to lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic6 although there remains some controversy around the association between digital device use and myopia remains.

Myopia has the potential to impact quality of life7 and can be associated with other sight-threatening conditions over the long-term.8 As myopia reaches epidemic proportions, it is clear that there is a growing need for more interventions that are safe, effective, and adapted to different age groups.

At Dopavision, we are contributing to the fight against the global myopia crisis by developing a digital therapeutic for childhood myopia. The recent closing of our €12 million Series A round was key to funding the clinical development of our digital myopia therapeutic.

References

¹Holden, B. A., Fricke, T. R., Wilson, D. A., Jong, M., Naidoo, K. S., Sankaridurg, P., … & Resnikoff, S. (2016). Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology, 123(5), 1036-1042.

²Pellegrini, M., Bernabei, F., Scorcia, V., & Giannaccare, G. (2020). May home confinement during the COVID-19 outbreak worsen the global burden of myopia?.
Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 258(9),2069-2070.

³Aslan, F., & Sahinoglu-Keskek, N. (2021). The effect of home education on myopia progression in children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 Xu, L., Ma, Y., Yuan, J., Zhang, Y., Wang, H., Zhang, G., … & Qu, J. (2021). COVID-19 Quarantine Reveals That Behavioral Changes Have an Effect on Myopia Progression. Ophthalmology.

5 Wang, J., Li, Y., Musch, D.C., Wei, N., Qi, X., Ding, G., … & Qian, X. (2021). Progression of myopia in school-aged children after COVID-19 home confinement. JAMA ophthalmology, 139(3),293-300.

6
Navel, V., Beze, S., & Dutheil, F. (2020). COVID‐19, sweat, tears… and myopia?. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 103(4),555-555.

7
Zhu, Z., He, Y., Yang, J., Li, Q., Cheng, H., Zhong, L., … & Ling, S. (2021). Study time, glasses utilization and age affect quality of life among senior first-year Chinese myopia students. European Journal of Ophthalmology, 1120672120982528.

8Morgan, I. G., French, A. N., Ashby, R. S., Guo, X., Ding, X., He, M., & Rose, K. A. (2018). The epidemics of myopia: aetiology and prevention. Progress in retinal and eye research, 62, 134-149.