What is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?
Myopia (Nearsightedness) is a common vision problem when you can see objects near you clearly, but distant objects appear blurry. This occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to bend (refract) in a suboptimal way and focus the image in front of your retina, not on your retina.
Myopia can develop gradually or very quickly. Your vision may become worse during your childhood and teenage years. Although the exact cause of myopia is unknown, myopia is believed to be a hereditary disease. If one or both parents are nearsighted, a child has a higher chance to develop myopia.
Myopia may be affected by your daily vision habits. People who spend a lot of time reading, working in front of a computer screen, or doing other intense close visual work may be more likely to develop myopia.
An opthalmologist can confirm if you have myopia. You can compensate for the blurred vision with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Causes of Myopia (Nearsightedness)
An eyeball that grows too long causes the outer layer of the eye to become too curved. As a result, the light that enters the eye cannot focus correctly. The image focuses in front of the retina, not directly on the retina. This is what causes blurred vision or also known as a refractive error.
High myopia is a more serious nearsightedness condition, in which your eyeball grows more than it should and becomes very long from front to back. Apart from making it difficult to see things from afar, the condition can increase your chances of developing other diseases such as detached retina, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Degenerative myopia is a rare type of myopia that is usually inherited Your eyeball gets longer very quickly and causes severe myopia. This condition usually occurs in adolescence or early adulthood and may get worse as you age.
Besides making it difficult to see things from distance, you may have a higher chance of having retinal detachment, choroidal neovascularization (NVK), and glaucoma. Degenerative myopia is also referred to as pathological or malignant myopia.
When to See a Doctor for Myopia (Nearsightedness)
Your ophthalmologist will diagnose your myopia through a basic eye exam which includes a refraction test and an eye health check.
A refraction test is done to determine your vision problems, such as myopia or hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia. Your doctor may use a variety of devices and ask you to look through several lenses to test your vision
Your doctor may apply eye drops to dilate your pupil during an eye health exam. This may make your eyes become more light-sensitive for several hours after the exam. Eye dilation allows your doctor to see a wider view inside your eye.
Symptoms of Myopia (Nearsightedness)
Symptoms of myopia (nearsightedness) that you may experience include:
- Blurred vision when viewing distant objects.
- Headaches caused by eyestrain.
- Difficulty seeing while driving, especially at night (night blindness).
- Need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly
Myopia can be detected during childhood through adolescence years. A child with nearsightedness may:
- Persistently squint
- Blink excessively.
- Rub his or her eyes frequently.
- Become unaware of distant objects.
- Need to sit closer to the television, movie screen, or the front of the classroom.
Treatment For Myopia (Nearsightedness)
An eye exam may be performed to test your vision abilities. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery can usually help treat nearsightedness.
If you have myopia, your eyeglass prescription or contact lenses will be preceded by a minus sign (–). The higher the number, the more nearsighted you are. For example, -3.00 is higher than -2.50. Prescription glasses help your eyes focus light on the retina.
Eye surgery can improve your vision, so you do not need to wear glasses or contact lenses anymore. The most common eye surgeries may include:
Photorefractive keratectomy is an eye surgery using a laser to reshape the middle layer of your cornea. Through this procedure, your doctor will flatten the curve of the cornea – allowing the beam of light to focus more closely on the retina.
LASIK is the most common eye surgery to treat myopia. This procedure uses a laser or other devices to create a thin flap (grafts of skin tissue and soft tissue underneath that are removed from its original place) in the upper layer of the cornea. Your doctor will reshape the cornea with another laser and move the flap back to its original place.
Other Treatment Options
Special contact or atropine eye drops have been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of nearsightedness. In some cases, your doctor may suggest cataract surgery or lens replacement surgery.
Treatment Cost for Myopia (Nearsightedness)
Your choice of hospital and specialist doctor will affect the treatment cost for myopia.
To calculate the estimated treatment cost for myopia (nearsightedness) at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Myopia (Nearsightedness)
You cannot completely prevent nearsightedness, but some research suggests that you may be able to slow its progression. You can help protect your eyes and vision by maintaining your eye health, such as by getting regular eye examinations, protecting your eyes from direct sunlight, and adopting a healthy diet.
Home Remedies for Myopia (Nearsightedness)
In addition to seeking medical care, there are several remedies to treat myopia or nearsightedness at home, such as:
- Undergo eye exams regularly, even if you still have good vision.
- Control certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as they can affect vision if left untreated.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and block ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Wear protective eyewear to prevent eye injury while doing certain activities, such as playing sports, mowing grass, painting, or using other products containing toxic fumes.
- Eat healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits. Research shows that you can maintain good eye health if you regularly consume fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna and salmon.
- Avoid smoking, as it is not healthy for your overall health. Smoking can also have a negative impact on your eye health.
- Use the right corrective lenses to optimise your vision.
- Use good lighting for better vision.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at a distance of 20 feet in between your activities such as reading and looking at computer screens.
Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist at home and abroad through Smarter Health if you have a sudden loss of vision in one eye with, sudden blurred vision, double vision, see flashes of light, dark spots, or halos around lights – as these may be serious medical conditions.