According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.56 billion people worldwide (approximately the 30% of world’s population) are nearsighted (myopic) and that number is estimated to be doubled by the year 2050, if attention is not given on this matter.
What is myopia (nearsightedness)?
Every person is different, and the same goes with eyes. If the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the protective membrane on the corner of the eye) is too curved, this can cause myopia. The light is not focusing correctly on the retina, but instead the light focuses in front of the retina, which results to not being able to see clearly (blur vision) objects that are far away from you.
Every child is diagnosed with slight myopia at birth, which gets better and even completely gone at early childhood. There are times though that the condition might not fade away, but instead evolve while growing up.
If myopia is running in the family, then yes, you and your children are at a higher risk of developing this condition. If one or both parents have this condition, their children should be tested regularly, since studies have shown that myopia could be hereditary.
Having said that, even if you are not predisposing to myopia, the way of life can also be a factor. The time spent on watching TV, in front of a computer or other electronic devices or even the time you spend reading, can play a significant part in developing refractive errors (such as myopia).
As most refractive errors, myopia is a condition that needs to be treated in order to have a better quality of living. Below are some indicative symptoms of myopia, that if you notice, you should contact your ophthalmologist.
Blurry vision. If you understand that you are facing difficulty in seeing objects at a distance, such as road signs or number plates but they become clear when approaching you, then you are experiencing blurry vision.
Eyestrain that causes headaches. If you struggling to focus due to headaches and simultaneously you feel eye discomfort, then the symptom of headaches might be due to this condition.
Driving during the evening might be a struggle, for people who suffer from night myopia (inability to see clearly during minimized lighting).
Partially closing your eyes in order to focus your vision and see clearly. This is commonly referred to, as squinting.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you need to consider the possibility that you are developing or you have already developed myopia. An appointment with your doctor should be considered as a must.
So can myopia be treated effectively and is there a way to completely eliminate it? Yes it can, and yes there is.
As soon as your doctor diagnoses myopia, he will recommend to you, the best action plan of treatment that is relative to the severity of the condition. Actions that might be taken, include the following:
Prescription glasses and/or contact lenses. The prescription that will be given to you for myopia, will be indicated with the minus sign (-) and the higher that negative number is, the stronger the prescription will be.
Refractive eye-surgery. There are currently 2 types of refractive eye-surgeries: i) Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and ii) LASIK (the most commonly used method).
Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) which is a non-surgical treatment that its effects last as long as the treatment lasts (a temporary solution), and it is usually preferred by individuals that do not want to undergo a surgical solution.