What is Myopia?
Myopia is a very common vision condition that is often referred to as near-sightedness. If an individual is myopic, he can clearly see objects close to him, like reading a book, but is unable to focus on distant objects like a road sign or a number plate. It is caused primarily by abnormalities in the cornea or the eyeball that affect how light is refracted onto the retina and is easily treatable with eye surgery, spectacles or contact lenses.
It is important to note that there are Two Types of Myopia: Simple and High.
- Simple Myopia is not considered an eye disease as it is just a focusing disorder that can be addressed with ease and does not significantly affect the person’s life in any manner.
- High Myopia is a rare condition where the impact on eyesight is more severe and greatly increases the risks of the individual suffering from a detached retina or glaucoma. High Myopia is considered an eye disease.
Several vision-related symptoms of near-sightedness are usually observed in children and teenagers but more often than not, the difficulty to clearly observe distant objects is the sole symptom.
- Blurred Vision: lack of clear vision when observing distant objects is the classic symptom of Myopia.
- Headaches: due to the additional strain needed to observe far away objects, headaches may be observed from time to time.
- Unawareness of Distant objects: some persons might be completely unable to perceive distant objects and, in some cases, this could be dangerous to the safety of the individual (Eg: while driving).
- Irritation: the condition may lead to irritation in the eyes and this often leads to excessive blinking, squinting, or rubbing of the eyes.
These Myopia symptoms can be identified in children if they are unable to see the chalkboard in classrooms clearly if they need to sit close to the television or if they are constantly squinting. It is best to consult with an Ophthalmologist if such symptoms are observed.
Who is at Risk?
Myopia Risk Factors are varied due to the large incidence of the condition across the world but there a few very important factors that could greatly increase the risk of Myopia.
- Genetics: In many cases, Myopia tends to be hereditary and is passed down from one generation to the next. Therefore, if parents are near-sighted, the risks of the child being near-sighted are higher.
- Age: Children between the ages of 8 and 12 are increasingly diagnosed with Myopia because this is the age where the eyes of growing.
- Visual Stress: Those who spend long hours before a computer screen or books every day cause immense strain to the eyes and this might be a Risk Factor.
- Other Environmental Factors: Apart from the aforementioned factors, some lifestyle attributes such as lack of outdoor activity and unhealthy and non-nutritious diets have also been linked to higher risks of near-sightedness.
Myopia is caused by structural abnormalities in the eye; specifically, the lens or the cornea, both of which are responsible for focusing images. The cornea and the lens need to be perfectly smooth and curved to properly refract light onto the retina. When there are structural abnormalities, the curve is uneven, and light is refracted improperly, thereby causing a refractive error. Myopia is one type of refractive error where the cornea on the outer eye is excessively curved or the eyeball is too long.
Since the light is not refracted properly, eyesight is blurred and, in most cases, this requires correction either through eye surgery or vision aids like eyeglasses and contact lenses. In some cases, the condition could cause severe eyesight complications and drastically affect quality of life, but these are very rare.
How is Myopia Diagnosed?
The Diagnosis of Myopia can be accurately done only with the help of an Eye Test. An appointment must be made with an Ophthalmologist who will conduct the eye test and recommend corrective measures.
Eye tests may also include the dilation of pupils for better examination of the retina and optical nerve and it is important to note that it takes around 4 to 6 hours for the effects of this dilation to wear off. A regular eye test without dilation, however, is sufficient for Myopia Diagnosis. It is recommended that children and adults over the age of 40 undergo regular eye tests.
How is Myopia Treated?
Treatment for Myopia necessarily involves the correction of vision and the individual may choose any of the following methods to do so taking into consideration the cost, age, convenience, and doctor’s advice.
- Prescription Eyeglasses: In most cases, eyeglasses are recommended that act as an external visual aid and can be worn all the time or according to the ophthalmologist’s advice.
- Contact Lenses: A great alternative to those who do not wish to wear glasses, contact lenses are worn directly over the eye.
- Refractive Surgery: Those who are looking for a permanent solution can opt for refractive surgery (Commonly known as LASIK) that uses a laser to reshape the cornea to correct vision.
Carefit is an all-in-one health platform that offers a range of resources to people in need of medical attention across the country. Be it a consultation or treatment, you can get in touch with some of the best doctors in the country through the Carefit website or app.
How can Myopia be prevented?
Although researchers are looking at different ways to tackle near-sightedness, Myopia prevention is not possible as of today. However, general precautions may be taken to maintain and improve eye health.
- Regular eye check-ups could help identify any disorder at an early stage.
- Pay attention to your general health as conditions like high blood pressure and Diabetes can adversely affect eye health.
- Ensure that you protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses as UV rays are harmful to the eyes.
- A healthy and nutritious diet is essential to maintaining excellent vision.
- Quit smoking as it could be detrimental to your eye health.
- Do not strain your eyes too much while working or reading and always ensure that you are in a well-lit environment while putting your eyes to work.
Use the right corrective eyeglasses or lenses to prevent refractive disorders from worsening.