Myopia is now regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global epidemic. On average, developed and developing nations have experienced a three-fold increase in myopia over the past three decades. There is debate as to the reasons for the increase, but there appears to be correlation with the increase and the fact that many children today don’t get sufficient exposure to natural light (Fig. 1). Solid-state lighting (SSL), with tunable spectral power distribution (SPD) enabled by LED sources, however, may have the ability to change the trend by offering exposure to specific wavelengths needed for normal development of the eye and emmetropia or no visual error.
Stepping back, let’s review some facts on myopia or nearsightedness. In South Korea, China, and most of eastern Asia, 80% of high school graduates and 95% of university graduates are myopic. Apart from the personal costs, inconvenience, and disability, myopia brings elevated risk of ocular morbidity for many of these sufferers in later life such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and cataracts, which in turn poses the risk of an onerous burden on health and welfare costs both at a personal and state or governmental level.
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