Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a widespread refractive error that affects a significant portion of the global population. It’s characterized by the ability to see nearby objects clearly while distant objects appear blurry. This visual condition occurs when the light entering the eye is focused in front of the retina, rather than directly on it.
The hallmark symptom of myopia is difficulty seeing objects in the distance, whether it’s road signs, blackboards, or distant faces. People with myopia might squint or strain their eyes to bring distant objects into focus. However, close-up tasks such as reading or using electronic devices are usually comfortable for them. Other symptoms might include eye strain, headaches, and tiredness after engaging in activities that require focusing on distant objects.
Myopia results from an interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. If there’s a family history of myopia, an individual is more likely to develop it. Spending insufficient time outdoors during childhood has also been linked to an increased risk of myopia. Prolonged near work, such as reading, using computers, or handheld devices, especially in poorly lit environments, does not seem to cause myopia development or progression.
The exact biological mechanism behind myopia involves the elongation of the eyeball, which disrupts the balance between the eye’s focusing power and its length. This elongation causes light rays to converge in front of the retina instead of directly on it, resulting in blurred distance vision.
Thankfully, there are several treatments available to manage myopia and its progression. Prescription eyeglasses with concave lenses are the most common and straightforward way to correct myopia. Similar to eyeglasses, contact lenses can correct myopia by altering the way light enters the eye. Laser-assisted surgeries like LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) can reshape the cornea to change how light enters the eye, effectively correcting myopia. Another option is PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), which involves reshaping the cornea’s surface.
MYAH by Topcon Health is a new and improved machine to aid in the battle of Myopia. It so happens to have arrived at Louie Eyecare, the first in the city. This new and one-of-a-kind instrument enables professionals to track the development of myopia and contrast measurements with axial length growth patterns. Most cases of myopia occur due to the eye’s elongation along its axis. By leveraging the substantial axial length data from Erasmus University (Rotterdam, NL) now integrated into MYAH, we can observe axial length changes and match a patient’s information against standard growth patterns.
For children, various methods have been developed to slow down the progression of myopia. These include multifocal contact lenses, atropine eye drops, and specific eyeglass lenses designed to reduce strain during work. Encouraging children to spend more time outdoors, particularly in natural sunlight, has been shown to have a protective effect against myopia development.
In conclusion, myopia is a prevalent refractive error that affects the way distant objects are perceived. While genetic predisposition plays a role, lifestyle factors like lack of outdoor time during childhood can contribute to its development. Fortunately, there are multiple treatments available, ranging from corrective lenses to surgical interventions, each tailored to individual preferences and needs. Regular eye exams are essential to detect myopia early and explore suitable management strategies.