What is myopia?
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is the lengthening of the eye resulting in blurred distance vision. This has been commonly corrected with glasses and contact lenses. Unfortunately, most patients with myopia experience a worsening of vision every year requiring stronger and stronger corrections throughout their childhood and well into their early adult years. Myopia incidence has been increasing at an alarming rate, rising from 25% of the US population in the 1970's to over 40% today. In some countries of the world this rate is over 80%.
Causes, Signs & Symptoms of Myopia
Myopia is a type of visual impairment that occurs because light entering the eye focuses on a spot in front of the retina (a thin tissue that collects visual information on the inside of the back of your eye), instead of directly on it. This can happen for several reasons:
- The eyeball is too long
- The lens (which sits behind the pupil) is too curved
- Genetics (you're more likely to be myopic/nearsighted if your parents are)
Interesting research has found that children who spend more time playing outdoors are less likely to be nearsighted; this could be related to the supposition that kids who are outside a lot are likely spending less time reading and doing other tasks that can strain the eyes. Unfortunately, with the widespread use of modern-day technology (including smartphones, tablets, and computers), this may become less of a factor.
Here's a quick way to remember myopia: if you're nearsighted, you can see near. This means people with myopia tend to have difficulty seeing things far away (such as the classroom whiteboard or street signs), although they can generally see okay while reading or looking at things close up. Uncorrected nearsightedness may also lead to eye strain, eye fatigue, and headaches.
This condition does usually develop in childhood, but it can progress with age, though with proper treatment it can be managed and stabilized well.
If you would like to learn more about what treatment options are available for myopia control schedule your Myopia Progression Assessment and Individualized Myopia Control Consultation. Call us now at (239) 437-2004.