Myopia: 2018 American Eye-Q Research

The American Optometric Association's (AOA) annual American Eye-Q® survey identifies attitudes and behaviors of Americans regarding eye care. The following key findings are included in the 2018 American Eye-Q results.

One in four parents report having a child who has been diagnosed with myopia/nearsightedness.

  • The most commonly noticed symptoms are squinting (44 percent) and headaches (37 percent).
  • For nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of parents, the first step was taking their child to see an eye doctor.
  • Most children (54 percent) were diagnosed by a doctor of optometry.

Taking your school-aged children to a doctor of optometry is extremely important, as three-quarters (75 percent) of children with myopia were diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12.

  • The median age of diagnosis is between 7 and 9 years old.
  • Three in five know that early intervention is key to reducing vision loss caused by myopia.
  • Seven in ten (70 percent) parents say they take their children to get a comprehensive eye exam at least once per year.
  • Two-thirds of parents believe myopia can cause poor academic performance and behavior issues at school.

While nearly two thirds of Americans are familiar with myopia/nearsightedness, they are unsure or unaware of the details.

  • Seven in ten (69 percent) are unaware that myopia first occurs in school-age children.
  • Less than a third (30 percent) are aware that spending a lot of time reading can increase the risk of developing myopia.
  • Nearly one in three (30 percent) are unaware of any methods to help controlmyopia/nearsightedness.

Half of Americans believe spending a lot of time on digital devices can increase the risk of developing myopia.

  • Three-fourths of parents are concerned their children may damage their eyes due to prolonged use of electronic devices.
  • Yet, four in five parents say their child spends at least an hour using a computer or mobile device per day.



The American Optometric Association commissioned a 20-minute, online survey among a nationally-representative sample of n=1000 U.S. adults ages 18+. The margin of error for this sample is ± 3.1 at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey fielded between Dec. 14 and Dec. 20, 2018.