Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

“Myopia, also known as ‘short-sightedness’ or ‘near-sightedness’, causes people to have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. It is estimated that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. 1 Growing levels of high myopia are increasing the risks of serious eye conditions, which may lead to permanent blindness.” – Brian Holden Institute

Myopia is another word for nearsightedness, one of the most prevalent refractive eye conditions in the world. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 40 percent of the population in the United States suffer from myopia. That figure has grown substantially over
the years.

Previously, the most common cited statistic about myopia was that about a quarter of all Americans suffered from it. The recently reported increase suggests myopia is becoming an even more common vision concern in the U.S.

Myopia is an eye condition classified under the category of “refractive errors.” A refractive error occurs when the eye fails to bend (or refract) light as it should. An eye struggling with proper light refraction will not be able to focus on images correctly. The result, in most cases, is some degree of blurred vision.

What Are the Symptoms of Myopia?

With myopia, only some objects appear blurred. As the nickname of “nearsightedness” implies, someone with myopia should be able to see close objects clearly but will struggle to see objects further away. For instance, if you notice you can read a book without difficulty but struggle to read road signs, then you might have myopia. In general, myopia is characterized by distant objects appearing blurry or indistinct.

The opposite of myopia is farsightedness, or hyperopia. Hyperopia is another type of refractive error. Here, the symptoms of the condition are reversed. The refractive error makes it difficult for the eyes to focus on nearby objects but doesn’t affect vision at a distance to the same degree. For example, a patient might need reading glasses to read a book, but may not require any vision aid to see objects that are farther away.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is a focusing disorder of the eye caused by a longer-than-average eye or a cornea that is curved too substantially to match the length of the eyeball. These factors lead to the refractive error, in which light rays focus in front of the retina rather than on the surface of the retina. The result is nearsightedness.

How Can Myopia Be Treated?

Myopia often manifests in children—often in those who have nearsighted parents. It tends to stabilize in young adulthood but does not usually regress on its own. As a result, patients with nearsightedness are constantly seeking ways to improve their condition. Glasses and contact lenses can help to correct refractive error, while refractive surgeries such as LASIK can help resolve the condition more permanently. You should consult your eye doctor to determine which options are available to you.

More importantly today is the prevention of myopia or myopia management. There are three ways to potentially slow the progression of nearsightedness in children: corneal reshaping and soft bifocal contact lenses and/or atropine eye drops. Corneal reshaping can be achieved with orthokeratology. These lenses are mapped and custom-designed to fit a patient’s eye shape. A patient can wear these lenses overnight. What Ortho-K lenses do is reshape the surface of the eye—gently and subtly, but enough to make a difference in light refraction and focusing. By wearing these lenses through the night, the patient can enjoy clear contact-free vision throughout the day. Distance center multifocal soft contact lenses look and feel like standard soft contact lenses but are designed with several “zones” throughout the lens that essentially trick the eye to reduce the effects of myopia.

Learn more about potential treatment options, including special contact lenses, by contacting the Miami Contact Lens Institute today.