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Prof JS Tityal

Myopia effect: 50% of kids may not be fit for armed forces in future

Rising cases of myopia among children in India, previously thought to be an urban phenomenon, are now spreading to rural areas of the country and are likely to pose serious challenges for children aspiring to serve their country by joining the armed forces.

According to estimates, 40 to 50% of children remain in danger of being myopic by 2045 or 2050, requiring corrective measures, Prof JS Tityal, Chief of RP Center, Delhi-AIIMS, said while addressing the media on the occasion of the 56th Foundation of Dr RP Center for Ophthalmic Science.

Stressing that if myopia keeps increasing at the current pace, Prof Tityal said that around 50% of children will not remain eligible for the army and become pilots in coming years.

He went on to say that myopia is a major issue for the younger generation. Because of the increased use of digital systems (overuse of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers), children's eyes are becoming stressed, leading to an increase in myopia cases.

“As per our study, the overall prevalence of myopia has increased in children between the ages of five and fifteen. Around 13 to 15% of myopia is being detected in this age group. In cities, the prevalence of myopia is around 11%, and in rural areas, its prevalence has increased to almost 7%,” Prof Tityal informed.

Speaking about the treatment gap, he pointed out that the major problem is that the kids of such age groups, especially those who live in rural areas, do not come to the hospital.

The renowned ophthalmologist parents should watch out for symptoms in kids, including the inability to see the blackboard clearly and watch television from a close range, as such children may have developed myopia, he added.

Eye screening for such kids is a must so that they can get glasses, Prof Tityal further suggested.  

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