Understanding Myopia: Causes and Management Options

Aug 15, 2023 | Eye Health, General Eye Exam

Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a common vision condition in which a person can see nearby objects clearly but has difficulty seeing objects that are farther away. This occurs because the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is too steeply curved. As a result, light entering the eye is focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it.

Some Common Signs and Symptoms of Myopia Include:

An Elderly Man Rubbing His Eyes

  • Blurred vision when looking at distant objects.
  • Difficulty reading road signs or seeing the chalkboard in school.
  • Squinting to see distant objects more clearly.
  • Eyestrain or headaches, particularly when engaging in activities that require clear distance vision, such as driving or watching a movie in a large theatre.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, can affect people of all ages, but it often develops during childhood and tends to progress until the late teens or early twenties. While anyone can develop myopia, certain factors increase the susceptibility to this vision condition.

Here Are Some of the Key Factors That Make Individuals More Likely to Develop Myopia:

Genetics: Family history plays a significant role in the development of myopia. If one or both parents have myopia, their children have a higher risk of developing it as well. Genetic factors can influence the shape and size of the eyeball, which is a key determinant of myopia.

Environmental Factors:

Lifestyle and environmental factors can contribute to the development and progression of myopia. These factors include:

  • Near Work: Engaging in a lot of close-up tasks, such as reading, using electronic devices, or doing extensive amounts of near work, can increase the risk of myopia, especially in children.
  • Limited Outdoor Time: Spending more time indoors and less time outdoors has been associated with a higher risk of myopia. Outdoor exposure to natural light may have a protective effect against myopia development.

Age:

Myopia often develops in childhood and tends to progress as the eyes grow. It usually stabilises in early adulthood, but the risk of developing myopia decreases with age.

Ethnicity:

Some studies suggest that certain ethnic groups may have a higher susceptibility to myopia. For example, individuals of East Asian descent (such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean populations) tend to have a higher prevalence of myopia compared to other populations.

Education:

Higher levels of education and spending more time on academic pursuits that involve extensive reading and close work may increase the risk of myopia. This is particularly relevant for children and young adults.

City Living:

Myopia rates tend to be higher in city areas compared to rural areas, possibly due to lifestyle factors and limited outdoor space in urban environments.

It’s important to note that myopia can be managed and corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. Additionally, interventions like orthokeratology (corneal reshaping) and lifestyle modifications, such as increasing outdoor time, may help slow the progression of myopia in children.

Regular eye examinations by an optometrist or ophthalmologist are crucial for early detection and proper management of myopia, especially in individuals with risk factors. Effective management can help prevent complications and ensure good vision throughout life.

How Do You Correct Myopia?

Little Boy Undergoing Eye Test In Clinic

Myopia is usually diagnosed during a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Correcting myopia can be done through various methods:

Eyeglasses: Prescription eyeglasses with concave lenses help to redirect incoming light and focus it correctly on the retina. This provides clear vision for people with myopia.

Contact Lenses: Contact lenses can also be prescribed to correct myopia. These lenses sit directly on the eye’s surface and provide clear vision by altering the way light enters the eye.

Refractive Surgery: In cases of moderate to severe myopia, refractive surgery such as LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) can be considered. This surgical procedure reshapes the cornea to correct the refractive error.

Orthokeratology: This is a non-surgical option where specially designed rigid contact lenses are worn at night to temporarily reshape the cornea. This allows for clearer vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Myopia often develops during childhood and tends to progress until the late teens or early twenties. It can be hereditary, meaning that if one or both parents have myopia, there is an increased likelihood that their children will also develop it.

Regular eye examinations are essential for detecting and managing myopia, especially in children, to ensure proper vision correction and monitor its progression. If left uncorrected or unmanaged, myopia can lead to complications such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and other eye problems. Beyond Eyecare can help you with your Myopia diagnosis and treatment. Get in touch today!

You May Also Like

Understanding Hyperopia: The Ups and Downs of Long Sightedness

Understanding Hyperopia: The Ups and Downs of Long Sightedness

Hyperopia, commonly known as long-sightedness, is a widespread eye condition that affects our perception of the surrounding world. Although distant objects may appear sharply focused, hyperopia can result in blurriness when trying to focus on close-up tasks. Initially discovering that…