You are having difficulty in seeing a distant object clearly; but you can easily read a newspaper up close. Is that the case with you? If yes, then chances are high that you are Myopic or Nearsighted.
According to a report published in 2016 in the journal called Ophthalmology, the number of people affected by nearsightedness is increasing rapidly. And by 2050, about half the population of the world (about 5 million people) is expected to suffer from this condition. Researchers mainly blame the rapid change in lifestyle involving increased usage of smartphones, laptops and decreased outdoor activities for the situation.
Before we delve into the details of Myopia, let’s first find out how the eye works.
How do Your Eyes work?
When light falls on your eyes, it passes through the Cornea of your eye and into the lens. The lens then focuses it onto the retina at the back of your eye and creates the image which is then transmitted to the brain. This is how you can see the world clearly. However, for producing a clear image, the cornea must have an even curve, and the eye also needs to be at the right length.
In Myopic people, the eye is a bit long from the front to back. This means when you look at any distant object, the light rays won’t focus on your retina, but in front of it. As a result, a blurry image is formed which is transmitted to the brain, making the distant object appear blurry for you.
Signs and Symptom of Myopia
1. Myopia or Nearsightedness starts developing during the childhood between ages 6 and 12. The eyeballs continue to grow in teenagers so, if the child or teen is suffering from Myopia, it tends to worsen quickly during this age.
2. The prime symptom of nearsightedness is difficulty in seeing distant objects or a blurred vision when you look at distant images or objects. If you can see closely held objects clearly or read books without struggling to see things compared to distant objects, then you have a myopic vision. You might face problems in clearly seeing images or words on notice boards, TVs, and movie screen. As a result, this can cause poor work performance or drop in performance at school and carrying out other tasks (driving or playing sports).
3. If you see that your child squints or frown while viewing distant objects, complaints of headaches and holds books and other objects close to his or her face, then he or she might be suffering from Myopia.
4.Children who are nearsighted may move closer to TV screens or show lack of interest in sports and other outdoor activities as it requires a clear distance vision.
5. If your child is having difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly, take him to the eye specialist. An early diagnosis and treatment of nearsightedness are important. It’s because, without better visual skills, your child might face trouble doing school work and other activities that require seeing distant things.
Causes and Risk Factors of Myopia
6. After you focus on closely held objects for longer periods, the focusing muscles in the eyes or the Ciliary muscles lock up. As a result, your eyes become elongated. When your eyes are overly elongated, nearsightedness occurs.
7. Myopia can be hereditary. This means, if both parents are Myopic, then chances are high that their children are at a greater risk of developing nearsightedness.
8. In a study conducted by Kathryn Rose, researcher of Visual disorders at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences says that deficiency of sunlight can also cause myopia in children. Another study conducted by the University of Western Australia also found that the lack of outdoor time is also a risk factor and contributes to the development of nearsightedness.
9. People who read a lot are also at the risk of developing nearsightedness.
10. According to Professor Ian Morgan, a researcher at Australian National University in Canberra, when children spend more time in front of computers or doing activities such as reading books, and watching television or reading books, they become nearsighted.
11. According to a study conducted by the researchers at Complutense University in Spain about 31.3% of first-year students were nearsighted. On the other hand, the rate of nearsightedness in final year students was 49%. As per the Research author Dr Rafaela Garrido, students usually spend a long time doing intensive near work with their eyes. People who use computer or microscope are also doing intense work with their eyes. This puts the eye under severe stress, causing nearsightedness.
How to Diagnose Myopia?
12. The eye specialist may use several procedures to measure how your eyes focus light and for determining the power of optical lenses that might be needed to correct the problematic vision.
13. The eye specialist will ask you to identify the letters printed on the chart. This test is for measuring your visual acuity, which is usually represented as a fraction such as 20/20. The top number of the fraction represents the standard distance at which your test has been performed (for instance, 20 feet). The bottom number of the fraction is the smallest letter size that you have read. If you have a 20/40 visual acuity, then you will have to get within 20 feet for identifying a letter or letters that a person with normal vision can see clearly at 40 feet. Normal distance for visual acuity is 20/20; however, people might also have 20/15 vision which is of course, better.
14. The eye specialist might also use a phoropter. The eye specialist or an optometrist will place several lenses in front of your eyes. They will measure how your eyes focus light using a Retinoscope. The eye specialist might also use an automated machine for evaluating the focusing power of your eye. The power is then refined according to the response of your eyes for determining the lenses that will help you get the clearest vision.
15. Many eye specialist use eye drops before conducting these tests. However, they may also conduct this test without using any eye drops. They do this for determining how your eyes will respond under normal vision conditions. The eyes drops are used for temporarily keep your eyes from changing focus while testing.
16. The information thus obtained from the test, along with the results of other tests, your optometrist will decide whether you have myopia or not. The optometrist will also determine the power of lens correction that is required for a clear vision.
Treatment of Myopia
The eye specialist may suggest a number of ways for treating myopic vision. They include:
17. Using Eyeglasses: This is the primary choice for correcting myopic vision for a number of people suffering from myopia. Depending on the amount of myopia, the doctor might ask you to wear glasses only for performing certain activities such as driving a car or while watching a movie. In case you are very nearsighted, then you might need to wear glasses all the time.
18. Usually, the doctor will prescribe a single-vision lens to give you clear vision at all distances. However, if you are over 40 years of age or if the patient is a child or an adult whose myopia is due to the stress caused by near-vision work, the eye specialist might suggest a bifocal or a progressive addition lens. These lenses are multifocal and provide different powers throughout the lens to help you get a clear vision at all distances.
19. Using Contact Lenses: Some people with nearsightedness use contact lenses that offer a clearer vision. Compared to an eyeglass, contact lenses offer much wider field. However, since you will be wearing contact lenses directly on the eyes, it’s extremely important to take proper care of the lenses for ensuring your eye health.
20. Laser processes: Your doctor might also suggest Laser processes such as LASIK (Laser in-situ Keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) as possible treatment options for persons suffering from nearsightedness. A laser beam is used to reshape your Cornea by removing a small part of your eye tissue. However, the amount of myopia that these processes can correct depends on the amount of corneal tissue that can be safely removed from your eyes.
- In LASIK the eye surgeon removes tissue from the inner layers of the Cornea. For doing this, the surgeon lifts a section of the outer corneal surface, folds it back to expose the inner tissue. After that, using a laser the eye surgeon removes a certain amount of corneal tissue that is required for reshaping your eye. After that, the flap is then placed back in position. LASIK eye surgery is performed in all leading hospitals in India. If you want to undergo LASIK eye surgery in Kolkata or if you want to know about LASIK eye surgery cost, then contact us today at http://www.dishaeye.org/contact-us.
- In the case of PRK, the doctor uses the laser for removing a thin layer of tissue from the surface of the cornea for changing its shape and refocus light that enters your eye.
21. Ortho-k or CRT: This is yet another option for treating myopia. This process is also known as Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). This is a nonsurgical procedure where you have to wear a series of specially designed contact lenses that will gradually reshape the curve of your cornea. The lenses placed on the Cornea puts pressure on it, eventually flattening it to the desired level. This changes the way light (entering your eye) is focused. In this process, you have to wear contact lenses only for a limited period and then remove it. If you have moderate myopia, you can temporarily obtain clear vision for your daily activities.
22. Other procedures: If your eyes are highly nearsighted or if your corneas are too thin for laser procedures, then you might need surgical processes for correcting Myopia. An optometrist may implant small lenses in your eyes. These lenses are in accordance to the optical correction desired. This implant is usually placed in front of the natural lens of your eye.
23. Vision therapy (for people having stress-related myopia): Vision therapy is also an option for people who have blurred distance vision due to spasm of the muscles that controls the focus of the eyes. Your eye specialist might suggest various eye exercises for improving the poor focusing ability of your eye thus, regaining clear distance vision.
How to Prevent Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness can be easily prevented by bringing a few changes in your lifestyle.
24. Get your eye checked regularly. Even if you see well, follow this routine regularly.
25. Certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes can affect your vision. Try to control these conditions by following a healthy lifestyle.
26. Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Always wear sunglasses when outside.
27. Eat healthily. Include plenty of fruits and leafy greens vegetables in your diet. Eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
28. Quit smoking. This adversely affects your eye health as well.
29. Use right corrective lenses for optimising your vision.
30. Do not put much strain o eyes. Look away from the computer or the book you are reading every few minutes.
How can we help you?
For over a decade, Disha Eye Hospitals is committed to protect and preserve the most precious gift that we have- the gift of vision. We strive to remain the best by providing excellent services and by creating a continuum of care for everyone. Our specialists and experts specialise in preserving and restoring your vision at every stage of care. Schedule an appointment with our specialists today for comprehensive eye care.