What Is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?

Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is a common eye condition in which close objects appear clear while distant objects appear blurry. It occurs when the eyeball is too long, or the cornea is too curved, causing light rays to focus incorrectly on the retina. This results in blurred vision. Myopia can be corrected with corrective lenses or refractive surgery.

Who may it help?

  1. High myopia: High myopia is a severe level of short-sightedness that can lead to eye health complications in some cases. It is usually defined as -5.00 D to -6.00 D or higher or uncorrected visual acuity of 20/400 or worse. You may be at a greater risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal detachment in this condition.

  2. Degenerative myopia: Degenerative myopia is also called pathological or malignant. It can occur when high myopia develops rapidly, leading to degenerative changes affecting the retina. This can include myopic macular degeneration. Routine eye checkups can help determine any changes, giving the optometrist a chance to detect any complications in your eye.

  3. Progressive myopia: Progressive myopia continues to get worse within a period. It is usually caused by the elongation of the eyeball and typically occurs in childhood. In some cases, it can continue to the early adult years. Progressive myopia can develop into high myopia, but some myopia control methods can help slow the condition.

Symptoms of Myopia

Symptoms of Myopia or Nearsightedness may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Children may have difficulty seeing things on boards or screen projections in class. A younger child may not be able to express the difficulty in seeing; they may have the following behaviours :

  • Persistently squint
  • Blink excessively
  • Seem unaware of distant objects
  • Rub their eyes frequently
  • Sit close to the television

Adults with myopia may find it difficult to read street or traffic signs or signs in a store. Some people may experience blurry vision in dim light or while driving at night if they see clearly in daylight. This is called night myopia.

Can Myopia Lead to Blindness?

Myopia is a minor problem that can be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. In rare cases, degenerative myopia, also called a progressive type of myopia, develops that can be very serious and cause blindness. Degenerative myopia may affect 2% of the population.

Diagnosis of Myopia

Routine eye checkups can diagnose Myopia. Your eye specialist may ask about your medical history and medications. Here are a few tests with which Myopia can be diagnosed.

  1. Visual Acuity Test: A Visual Acuity test checks the sharpness of your vision from a distance. During this test, you cover one eye, and the doctor asks you to read an eye chart with different-sized letters or symbols. The same process goes for the other eye. There are special charts designed for very young children.

  2. Phoropter Test: In the phoropter test, you read the eye chart while looking through different lenses that help determine an appropriate prescription to correct vision problems.

  3. Other Tests:Your eye specialist will conduct other simple tests to check the following:

    • The response of your pupils to light
    • Eye movement
    • Side vision (peripheral vision)
    • Pressure within your eye
    • The condition of the pupil, lens, cornea, and eyelids
  4. Inner Eye Checkup: The eye doctor will use a special lens with a light to check your retina and optic nerve condition by putting drops in your eyes to dilate them. This helps to know the better view of the inner eye. You can wear the sunglasses for some time after the checkup as your eyes will be sensitive to light.

Treatment of Myopia

Myopia can be treated with glasses or contact lenses in children and adults. Here are a few ways to treat Myopia:

  • Eyeglasses: Eyeglasses or Contact lenses are one of the most popular ways to correct Myopia. The number of eyeglasses depends on the degree of vision correction needed. You need to wear eyeglasses either daily or when distance vision is needed. Though a single-vision lens will make distance vision clearer, patients above 40 with Myopia may require a bifocal or progressive lens to see both near and far.

  • Corneal Reshaping Therapy (Ortho-K, CRT): CRT is a type of orthokeratology that is defined as reshaping the cornea to reduce Myopia through rigid contact lenses. Some people with mild Myopia may be candidates for temporary corneal refractive contact lenses that they wear to bed to reshape the cornea temporarily, long enough to see for their regular lifestyle activities.

  • LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)is the most common surgery to correct nearsightedness. In a LASIK procedure, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to cut a flap through the top of the cornea, reshape the inner corneal tissue and then drop the flap back into place.

  • LASEK (laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy)is another surgery for correcting myopia. In a LASEK surgery, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to cut a flap through only the cornea's top layer, reshape the outer layers, and then close the flap.

  • PRK(photorefractive keratectomy) is a laser eye surgery to correct mild or moderate myopia. It may also be used to correct farsightedness and astigmatism. In a PRK procedure, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape the surface of your cornea, which flattens it and allows light rays to focus on the retina. PRK is preferred for patients with thinner corneas or rough surfaces because it disrupts less corneal tissue than a comparable LASIK surgery.

  • Phakic intraocular lenses are placed inside the eye just before the natural lens. It is an option for those with high Myopia or whose corneas are too thin for PRK or LASIK. Phakic intraocular lenses

  • Intraocular lens implantallows the ophthalmologist to surgically insert a new lens in your eye, replacing your natural one. This process is done before a cataract develops.

  • Vision therapyis an option if spasms of your focusing muscles cause your Myopia. The patients can strengthen their muscles through eye exercises and improve their focus.

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