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Myopia, also known as 'short-sightedness' or 'near-sightedness', causes people to have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.1 Growing levels of high myopia are increasing the risks of serious eye conditions, which may lead to permanent blindness.

Myopia Program

Myopia (short- or near-sightedness) affects many school-aged children and is fast becoming a major public health issue of our time. It is estimated that the current number of 2 billion people (2010) with the condition will grow to a staggering 2.6 billion by 2020 and 4.8 billion by 2050.1

The onset of myopia at an early age brings with it the likelihood of life-long eye care, there is a significantly increased risk of serious ocular health problems with high myopia, which can lead to vision loss and blindness. It is projected that almost 1 billion people will have high myopia by 2050.1

Brien Holden Vision Institute is conducting a suite of projects in the area of myopia, including: design and testing of spectacles and contact lenses that effectively slow the progression of myopia; collaborating on design and assessment of community interventions in clinical trials to control myopia; furthering our understanding of the mechanisms related to onset and progression of myopia; and developing tools to aid eye care practitioners in myopia management.

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Research Projects

Myopia management
With the rapidly changing landscape with respect to ‘standard of care’ for management of myopia, there is a need for tools to aid practitioners and better inform the public, community and relevant groups.

We are using our research platforms, collaboration networks and market insights to develop a range of tools such as, for example, clinical e-learning modules to help eye care practitioners identify candidates at risk, and empower them with the skills to better manage progressive myopia for patients.
Myopia contact lenses and spectacles
The Brien Holden Vision Institute and its collaborating partners have found that a) the retinal periphery and b) the global retinal image quality plays a significant role in development and progression of all refractive errors and especially of myopia.

These findings gave rise to the hypothesis, and key intellectual property, that myopia progression can be reduced through controlling the position of both central and peripheral retinal image points. Thus, correcting lenses can be designed that control myopic progression by changing and/or manipulating the retinal image position and quality at the retina.
Diagnostic technology
We are developing a ‘non-cycloplegic autorefractor’ which does not require the use of cycloplegic drugs but which will achieve the same level of accuracy in measurement of refractive error in children. The result will be a faster procedure that can be carried out by a non-specialist in any community vision screening project before the measurements are interpreted and managed by practitioners.

To confirm the hypothesis that peripheral refraction plays a role in the development of myopia, the Brien Holden Vision Institute has developed an instrument that can rapidly and reliably measure peripheral refraction in the horizontal and vertical meridians. This ‘EyeMapper’ is being used to collect large sets of data from children in our myopia trials.
Mechanisms related to onset and progression of myopia
This project will utilise data on high myopia and myopia in school-aged children produced through research conducted at our centre and with collaborating partners, to further improve our understanding of myopia.

PublIc Health Strategies

Sustainable eye care services
An estimated 1.22 billion people are blind or vision impaired globally because they can’t access the same kind of care. Over 100 million of that is due to uncorrected myopia.

This is largely due to a lack of facilities, infrastructure and the equipment necessary to provide eye care services, as well as a shortage of practitioners and other skilled personnel, especially in rural and remote areas in developing communities.

Our strategy to develop sustainable eye care services is based on the establishment of environments that enable trained eye care professional to provide much needed services locally. Find out more.
Child eye health
Our children need healthy eyes and vision to develop and thrive. Yet, millions of our children are vision impaired because they do not have access to eye care and treatment, having long-lasting, negative consequences for many of them. The majority of this vision impairment is due to uncorrected myopia.

Our Children’s Vision is a call to action, initiated by Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision For Life – Essilor, where partners are ensuring that effective, inclusive, sustainable eye health initiatives for children and adolescents are part of appropriate health programs and are integrated into regional, national and global education and health policies and practices for children. Find out more.


WHO report
In March 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) held a Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia at the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, to address the public health issue of myopia, the classification of myopia, evidence for treatments, and the need to take action.

The meeting, which brought together myopia experts from each WHO region, was the culmination of a joint effort between the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the WHO, with the support of the former Australian Minister for Health, Mr Peter Dutton, and funded by the Vision Cooperative Research Centre.

In October, 2016, the WHO released a report "The impact of myopia and high myopia", based on the meeting. To read the report click here.


  1. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, Jong M, Naidoo KS, Sankaridurg P, Wong TY, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S, Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050, Ophthalmology, May 2016 Volume 123, Issue 5, Pages 1036–1042.