What Is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition that causes objects from a distance to appear blurry and objects up close to appear clear.
Three categories make up myopia. This includes high myopia, moderate myopia, and low myopia.
High myopia is the most severe form and occurs when a person has over 6 diopters of myopia. Those with high myopia are at a higher risk of developing other vision problems and even complete vision loss later in life.
Moderate myopia is when a person has 3 to 6 diopters of myopia. A pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses are usually required in this case to see clearly.
Low myopia is the mildest form and describes those who have less than 3 diopters of myopia. Those with mild myopia may only need glasses or contact lenses in certain situations, such as watching a movie or reading from a chalkboard. However, over time myopia can worsen into moderate or high myopia.
Symptoms of Myopia
Myopia usually starts to develop between the ages of 6 and 14. According to HealthyChildren.org, myopia affects 5% of preschool children, 9% of school children, and 30% of adolescents.
Since myopia starts at such an early age, you will want to pay attention to the most common symptoms that come with this refractive error.
These symptoms include:
- Eye strain
- Blurry Vision at a Distance
Eye strain typically occurs after engaging in tasks like reading, staring at the computer, or driving for long periods of time. This symptom causes your eyes to feel tired and achy. You may also experience redness, dryness, and irritation.
Headaches are another symptom that comes with myopia and is almost always caused by eye strain. Those with myopia will typically experience cluster or tension headaches.
If you notice that you need to squint in order to see things from far away, you are likely in the early stages of myopia.
Blurry Vision at a Distance
Those with myopia will have difficulty seeing objects, such as street signs or television screens, from a distance. This may start off as mild but progressively worsen over time.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the lens of your eye is improperly shaped, which causes light to reflect in front of the retina instead of on it. This, in turn, causes poor vision.
The Risk Factors of Myopia
There are a variety of factors that play a role in developing myopia. Here are the biggest risk factors that lead to this common refraction error.
Myopia is caused by genetic factors. So, if your parent or sibling has myopia, it’s likely you will develop it too at some point in your life.
Prolonged Close-Up Activities
Prolonged close-up activities like reading for long durations can put you at more of a risk of developing myopia. That’s because these activities put a strain on your eyes long-term.
With the rise in electronic use, more and more people, especially children, are developing myopia. Likewise, the blue light that your screen emits could be damaging to your eyes in the long run. That’s why it’s important to take periodic breaks when using your electronic devices.
You may be surprised to learn that too much time indoors may lead to conditions like myopia. Studies are finding that moderate amounts of sunlight and gazing at faraway objects in an open space can keep your eyes healthy and prevent myopia from developing.
How Is Myopia Diagnosed?
Myopia is diagnosed at your general eye exam. Your eye doctor will have you read letters off of a board to test the strength of your vision. They will also perform a refraction test where they will shine a light in your eye to determine the way the light bounces off of your retina.
These tests will not only confirm if you have myopia, but they will also allow your doctor to come up with your specific prescription.
While myopia could negatively impact your everyday life, you’ll be happy to know that there are both temporary and permanent solutions to combat this refractive error.
If you are someone with myopia, it’s important to learn what treatment is the best for you.
Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses
Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common treatment for myopia. They help light focus properly on your retina, so you can see objects from a distance clearly.
Glasses are great because they can be worn and taken off whenever with no risk of any harmful side effects. There are also a variety of stylish options you can choose from.
If glasses aren’t your thing, contact lenses will also allow you to see clearly, and you can’t even tell that they’re in. The only downside to contact lenses is that they may cause dry eyes and irritation if worn for several hours.
To prevent this, it’s important to apply rewetting drops frequently and to always avoid sleeping in contact lenses.
There are now four different types of refractive surgeries you could receive to correct your vision. This includes LASIK, PRK, SMILE, and EVO ICL.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a permanent vision correction procedure that uses a laser to create a small flap on your cornea so that light passes through correctly. This procedure is painless and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. After the procedure, you will notice immediate results in your vision.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is another permanent vision correction procedure that uses a laser to correct the shape of your cornea. However, unlike LASIK, PRK procedures just get rid of surface cells that reside on the cornea, limiting the risk of complications.
A SMILE procedure (small incision lenticule extraction) creates a tiny incision into your corneal tissue, so your eye doctor can remove your lenticule. This overall reshapes your cornea so you can see clearly.
EVO ICL (Implantable Collamer® Lens) is a painless surgical procedure that uses a reflective implant to help correct vision problems like myopia and astigmatism. The biocompatible Collamer® material makes the implant soft and flexible, like a contact lens.
Refractive Lens Exchange
A refractive lens exchange is a permanent corrective vision procedure that replaces the entire lens of your eye. Your eye doctor will use an ultrasound probe to remove the lens and then replace it with an intraocular lens that fits your prescription.
Orthokeratology is one temporary way to prevent myopia. These special contact lenses are meant to be slept in and work to reshape your cornea naturally so you can see clearly for up to 72 hours after you wake up.
Eye Drop Medicine
Certain eye drop medications, such as atropine, may slow down the progression of developing myopia. This is usually prescribed in low dosages and taken daily.
Special Glasses or Contact Lenses
Not only can you treat myopia with glasses and contact lenses, but you can also prevent myopia from developing in the first place.
Executive bifocals and MiSight contact lenses are two approved methods that help the eyes focus correctly and slow down the progression of myopia.
Myopia Treatment & Surgery at Toledo LASIK
Are you looking for an effective way to treat your myopia? Toledo LASIK has got you covered.
Our eye care specialists will diagnose and treat your myopia with options like LASIK, PRK, SMILE, and other refractive lens procedures.
Start by giving us a call today at (419) 827-3856, or schedule your free consultation online today.