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To study change in the prevalence of myopia in Finland during the 20th century.A review of the literature on the prevalence of myopia in Finland.During the 20th century, the prevalence of myopia among 7- to 8-year-old schoolchildren did not increase in Finland and varied between 0.5% and 1.9%. Among 14- to 15-year-old school children, myopia doubled to about 21%. Among adults born during the first three decades of the 20th century, the prevalence of myopia was <10%, whereas among those born during the second half of the 20th century, the prevalence rose to 21–30%. The change in mean refraction was towards myopia.During the course of the 20th century, myopia among teenagers and adults in Finland significantly increased and the mean change in refraction was towards myopia. Increased education is proposed as the main reason behind these changes.