“Myopia is not only about poor eyesight, it’s about increased risk of disabling eye diseases.”
Nearsightedness currently affects 2.56 billion people worldwide and, if the trend remain unchanged, in ten years time, myopia is projected to affect 3.4 billion by 2030. By 2050, half the world’s population will be myopic and, of these, at least one billion people will have significantly increased risk of permanent blindness.
“To avert tomorrow’s explosion of blindness, we have to defuse this time bomb today.”
The skyrocketing Myopia Epidemic particularly targets city-dwelling, better-educated youngsters – threatening serious vision loss that goes beyond needing eyeglasses in order to see clearly at a distance.
Myopia occurs when the cornea (the clear covering on the front of the eye) is steeply curved or when the eyeball grows too much, elongating from front to back. While people have theories about what causes eye elongation, no one really knows what triggers this growth. However, the result is nearsightedness, which means that things nearby appear in-focus while faraway objects look blurry without corrective lenses.
Unfortunately, in addition to blurry vision, myopia is often the gateway to serious blinding diseases. With ONE MILLON new cases occurring each week, Vision Scientists are warning that there is no safe amount of myopia.
In a lens prescription each minus (-) diopter doubles the risk of developing ocular disorders. This is because elongation puts stress on the eye’s inner parts thereby inviting pre-mature development of maladies formerly attributed to old age. Nowadays, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments, macular myopathies are striking more people, dramatically disabling not only millions of young people in their teens and twenties but also hitting adults over 45 with blinding conditions, as the direct result of an over-stretched, weakened eyeball. Few nearsighted people know anything about these maladies: How they affect sight loss, how they may impact your ability to continue in a chosen profession and, how they can generally and quite profoundly disrupt one’s daily life.
Origins of the current epidemic can be traced back to shortly after WWII – when societal changes began to dramatically reshape our environment. Although spikes in myopia have been documented in particular populations over past centuries, what’s different this time is that the international span and magnitude of the present-day crisis has sparked a massive world-wide response from researchers, practitioners and industry who have joined together to tackle this phenomenon.
Meanwhile, myopia in kids has burgeoned into an out-of-control epidemic – in only the last 30 years – tripling in the USA and compromising the vision of 96% of urban young people in South Korea. According to data recently presented data, more than 47% of Europeans between 25-29 years of age are myopic.
The core of our story is at the nexus where Vision Science meets with innovation: With cutting-edge advances in lens design and development of safer pharmaceuticals, new methodologies are now being applied to scientific discoveries made nearly half-a-century ago. These breakthroughs have opened the door to amazing revelations pointing to creating remedies that – by slowing down eye elongation in young children – can help to stem-the-tide of this global epidemic.
Working closely with a distinguished group of scientists and innovators, we interweave their observations with testimonials of individuals living with progressive myopia, giving voice and firsthand witness to the real-life challenges on both sides of the conundrum.
With millions of young people unwittingly marching towards blindness, our objective is to reach as wide a general audience as possible on multiple international media and educational platforms. To achieve this, we are creating a project with a strong visual and editorial line while building an integrated distribution model with: 1) A visually creative, feature-length documentary essay; 2) a factual 52-minute version for TV and classroom screenings; and 3) five shorts episodes (2-3 mins each) designed for children and adolescents.
A Brewster Pond Production