Fast Company's Charlie Sorrel takes a look at a recent study from the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, which predicts that approximately half of the world will be short-sighted by 2050 due to lifestyle changes and and time spent staring at digital screens.
Researchers examined data from 2.1 million participants and 145 studies dating back to 1995. The results showed that 23% of the population, or approximately 1.4 billion people, had myopia in 2000. Using meta-analysis to estimate future trends, they predicted that number will rise to 4.8 billion people, or 50%, in 2050.
The study further predicts that myopia will become the leading cause of vision loss by 2050... making it the leading cause of permanent blindness. Those are scary numbers, but these changes will be expensive, too. In 2010, "The economic burden of uncorrected distance refractive error, largely caused by myopia, was estimated to be US$202 billion per annum," says the report, a figure set to rise as fast as our eyes degrade.