HealthDay News — About 9.6 million Americans are severely myopic, according to a study published online June 21 in Ophthalmology.

The new study is based on federal data, plus an analysis of an American Academy of Ophthalmology database.

Rates of myopia in the United States rose from 25% in the early 1970s to 40% around 2000, the study authors said. The researchers estimate that 817,829 Americans have progressive high myopia, and 41,111 of these individuals may also develop myopic choroidal neovascularization. Rates of progressive high myopia are higher among women than men – 0.42 versus 0.25% – and an estimated 527,000 women have the condition, compared with 292,000 men.

“The findings emphasize the growing issue of nearsightedness and the burden it creates in terms of medical complications that cannot be fixed with just glasses or contacts,” lead author Jeffrey Willis, MD, a retina fellow at the University of California’s Davis Eye Center in Sacramento, said in a journal news release.

One author disclosed financial ties to Genentech.

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