What You Need to Know about Myopia – Kelowna Optometrist
Myopia has often been a source of jokes and cartoons, and who doesn’t laugh to see Mr. Magoo make mistakes thanks to his magnified myopia. But, as anyone who is nearsighted knows, myopia is no laughing matter.
Myopia is becoming increasingly common, and a recent report from the American Academy of Ophthalmology revealed that myopia is predicted to affect nearly half of the global population by 2050.
But just because myopia is a common condition, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s not serious.
Severe myopia can increase the risk of ocular changes such as myopic macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. All of these can cause irreversible loss of vision, which is why it’s important to visit your local Kelowna optometrist if you are experiencing abnormal issues with your vision.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia is caused when the shape of the eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, this interferes with light refraction. In normal vision, light enters the lens and focuses directly on the retina. With nearsighted vision, the light focuses in front of the retina due to the misshapen lens or cornea.
The increase in myopia seems to indicate that our lifestyle is affecting our vision, and in fact, data from 145 studies involving 2.1 million participants has proven that lifestyle can affect myopia. As we spend more time gazing at screens and less time focusing on objects at a distance, the lens in our eye adapts to focusing on objects closer.
Myopia may also be caused by environmental factors, genetics, health issues such as diabetes, and even stress.
Symptoms of Myopia
Adults are well aware when their eyesight is not functioning as it should, but children, especially children under the age of six, often do not realize that they are nearsighted.
A few signs that may indicate a child is nearsighted include:
- Poor schoolwork
- Sitting too close to the television
- Holding books or objects close to their face
Nearsightedness in children can become more severe during adolescence, but it usually stabilizes when they enter their twenties. However, if you catch the signs of myopia early, there may be treatments available that can slow the progression.
Top Five Treatments for Myopia
1: The most common treatment for nearsightedness is to correct vision with glasses or contact lenses, but there are new treatments that can help achieve visual acuity.
2: For younger patients, myopic control may be an option. If myopia is due to a misshapen cornea, orthokeratology may be recommended. This myopic control treatment uses gas permeable contact lenses that have been designed to reshape the cornea. The lenses are worn overnight and reshape the cornea while you sleep. The result is clear vision throughout the day, but the effects are temporary and the corrective lenses must be worn nightly; however, this process can slow down the progression of nearsightedness.
3: When myopia has stabilized, and if myopia is caused by a misshapen cornea, laser treatments such as LASIK and PRK can be an alternative solution to wearing glasses or contact lenses. Laser surgery uses a beam of laser light to remove a small amount of eye tissue and reshape the cornea.
4: If the cornea is too thin for laser surgery, refractive surgery may be a solution. During the refractive surgery process, a small lens can replace the natural lens, or it can be implanted in front of the natural lens to improve vision.
5: If myopia is stress related, vision therapy may be all that is needed. Stress-related myopia is caused when the muscles that control eye focus spasm. Vision therapy involves various eye exercises that improve the eye muscle function.
Myopia is a condition that can be easily detected and treated. If you are experiencing eye problems or changes in vision, don’t wait. Schedule an eye exam with your Kelowna optometry clinic to make sure your vision is as good as it should be.