What is myopia?
Myopia is a communal vision condition in which you can see near substances clearly, but objects further away appear blurry. It occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to bend (refract) wrongly, focusing images in front of your retina in its place on your retina.
Myopia can develop increasingly or quickly, often worsening during childhood and youth. Myopia tends to run in families.
A basic eye exam can confirm myopia. You can compensate for the blur with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Types of myopia
- Pathological myopia: Initiated by an abnormal and extreme lengthening of the axial distance of the eye that does not change (before 6 years)
- School-age myopia: Occurs between 6 and 18 years of age
- Onset in adulthood: Early adulthood is considered 20-40 years; late adult is over 40 years old
Causes of myopia
Your eye has two parts that focus images:
- The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped front shallow of the eye.
- The lens is a clear structure of the size and shape of M&M candy.
In a usually shaped eye, each of these focusing elements has a perfectly smooth curving, like the surface of a marble. A cornea and lens with such curvature bend (refract) all incoming light to create a clearly focused image directly on the retina at the back of the eye.
A refractive error
If the cornea or lens is not evenly and evenly curved, the light rays are not refracted correctly and you have a refractive error.
Myopia usually occurs when the eyeball is lengthier than normal or the cornea has a too pronounced curvature. Rather than focusing precisely on your retina, light is intensive in front of your retina, subsequent in a blurry appearance to distant substances.
Other refractive errors
Besides myopia, other refractive errors include:
- Hyperopia. This occurs when your eyeball is shorter than normal or your cornea is very slightly curved. The effect is the opposite of myopia. In adults, near and distant objects appear blurry.
- Astigmatism. This occurs when the cornea or lens curves more sharply in one direction than the other. Uncorrected astigmatism clouds your vision.
Risk factors for myopia
Certain risk factors can increase your chance of developing myopia, such as:
- Genetics. Myopia tends to run in families. If one of your parents is myopic, you increase your risk of developing the condition. The risk is even higher if both parents are myopic.
- Environmental conditions. Some educations provision the idea that lack of time outside can increase the chances of developing myopia.
Symptoms of myopia
Symptoms of myopia can include:
- Blurred vision when looking at distant objects
- The need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly
- Headaches caused by eyestrain
- Exertion seeing when driving a vehicle, especially at night (night myopia)
Myopia is often first detected during childhood and is commonly diagnosed between the early school years and adolescence. A child with myopia can:
- Persistent squinting
- You need to sit closer to the television, the movie screen, or the front of the classroom
- Appears unaware of distant objects
- Flashes excessively
- Rub your eyes frequently
Diagnosis of myopia
Myopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam, which includes a refractive evaluation and an eye health exam.
A refractive evaluation regulates if you have vision glitches such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. Your doctor may use various instruments and ask you to look through various lenses to test your near and distance vision.
Your eye doctor will likely put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils for the eye health exam. This can make your eyes more sensitive to light for a few hours after the exam. Dilation allows your doctor to see larger views into your eyes.
Treatment for myopia
The standard goal of myopia treatment is to improve vision by helping to focus light on the retina through the use of helpful lenses or refractive surgery. Management of myopia also includes regular monitoring for complications of the condition, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal tears and detachments, and damage to central areas of the retina.
The use of corrective lenses treats myopia by counteracting the increased curvature of the cornea or the increase in the length of the eye. Types of prescription lenses include:
- Eyeglasses. This is a simple and safe way to sharpen the vision caused by myopia. The variety of lenses for glasses is wide and includes monofocal, bifocal, trifocal, and progressive multifocal.
- Contact lenses. These lenses are worn directly on the eyes. They are accessible in a collection of materials and designs, consider soft and rigid, gas permeable in combination with spherical, toxic, and multifocal designs. Ask your ophthalmologist about the pros and cons of contact lenses and what might be best for you.
Refractive surgery reduces the need for glasses and contact lenses. Your eye surgeon uses a laser beam to determine the cornea, resulting in a reduced prescription for myopia. Even after surgery, you may need to wear glasses a few times.
- Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK): With this procedure, your eye surgeon makes a thin, hinged flap on your cornea. Then he uses a laser to remove the inner layers of the cornea and flatten its domed shape. Recovery from LASIK surgery is usually faster and less discomforting than other corneal surgeries.
- Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK): The surgeon makes an ultra-thin fold only in the cornea’s outer defensive cover (epithelium). He or she then uses a laser to redesign the cornea’s outer layers, flattening its arch, and then replaces the epithelium.
- Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): This procedure is related to LASEK, except that the surgeon totally removes the epithelium and then uses the laser to reshape the cornea. The epithelium is not replaced, but it will grow back naturally, adapting to the new shape of your cornea.
Talk to your doctor about possible side effects, as this procedure is not reversible. Refractive surgery is not recommended until your myopic prescription is stable.
Treatments to slow or stop the evolution of myopia
Investigators and doctors continue to search for more effective approaches to avoid myopia from getting worse over time. The most promising therapies to date include:
- The topical medicine, atropine. Topical atropine drops are usually used to open the pupil of the eye, often as part of eye exams or before and after eye surgery. Atropine eye drops in various doses can also help slow the progression of myopia. The exact mechanism of this effect is unknown.
- More time outdoors. Spending time outdoors during adolescence and early adulthood can lower the risk of myopia for life. Researchers believe that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can change the molecular structure of the sclera and cornea and help maintain a normal shape.
- Double focus contact lenses. A new type of dual-focus contact lens has been shown to slow the progression of myopia in children between the ages of 8 and 12.
- Orthokeratology. In this procedure, you wear rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses for several hours a day until the curvature of the eye evens out. Then, wear lenses less often to maintain the new shape. If you stop this treatment, your eyes return to their previous shape. There is evidence that this lens slows the elongation of the myopic eyeball, which reduces myopia.
Myopia is associated with a variety of complications, from mild to severe, such as:
- Reduced quality of life. Uncorrected nearsightedness can affect your quality of life. You may not be able to perform a task as well as you want. And your limited vision can detract from your enjoyment of daily activities.
- Visual fatigue. Uncorrected nearsightedness can cause you to squint or strain your eyes to maintain focus. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches.
- Impaired security. Your own safety and the safety of others may be compromised if you have an uncorrected vision problem. This could be particularly serious if you are driving a car or operating a heavy kit.
- Financial burden. The cost of corrective lenses, eye exams, and medical treatments can go up, especially with a chronic condition like nearsightedness. Vision reduction and loss can also affect earning potential in some cases.
- Other eye problems. Severe nearsightedness puts you at increased risk for retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy – damage to the central area of the retina. The tissues of the long eyeballs stretch and thin, producing tears, swelling, new blood vessels that are weak and bleed easily, and scarring.
However, you can help protect your eyes and vision by following these tips:
- Get your eyes checked. Do this regularly even if you see fine.
- Control of chronic diseases
- Protect your eyes from the sun
- Prevent eye injuries
- Eat healthy foods
- Don’t smoke
- Wear the correct corrective lenses
- Use good lighting