Myopia is a defect in eye refraction. To understand it better, let’s first talk about the refraction of the eye.
Eye refraction is a phenomenon that occurs when light enters our eyes through the cornea and the crystalline lens (refractive tissues). Refraction allows us to see because this light is reflected on the retina. Then that information travels to our brain, and thus we recognize and perceive our surroundings.
So, what is myopia? Myopia is a refractive error that occurs when light is not reflected on the retina but in front of it, resulting in blurred vision.
Usually, this defect is due to the eyeball being too long, causing the incoming light to not reflect correctly on the retina. Still, it can also be associated with an abnormally shaped cornea or lens.
Who Is At Risk For Myopia?
We can all be at risk as it occurs in both children and adults.
Myopia affects approximately 23% of the world’s population in children, with a prevalence between 0.9% and 3.1%. It has been on the rise in recent years and is increasingly being diagnosed in younger children.
In contrast, the statistics are more alarming in adults. According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 40% of adults have myopia, especially women, with an onset between 25 and 40 years.
You are also at risk for myopia if you have a first-degree relative (father, mother, siblings) with myopia or spend a lot of time in front of screens (phone, tablet, TV, computer).
In children, the first symptoms of myopia usually appear between 7 and 10 years old and continue progressing over the next 15 years. They claim not to see the blackboard from their seat, squint their eyes to see, sit too close to the TV, or have learning problems, especially reading.
Symptoms in adults are more evident; they do not see far, feel the need to squint to see, and have a lot of eye fatigue (sore eyes).
How Is Myopia Treated?
The traditional treatment consists of single vision lenses and refractive under correction. The lens works as a refracting element improving the light refraction in the retina. However, this is not a curative treatment. As time goes by, myopia worsens, and the lenses have to be updated with a new formula.
Of particular concern is the progression of myopia in children because the earlier the age of myopia onset, the greater the likelihood of experiencing vision-threatening levels of myopia.
The ophthalmological world is currently working on a preventive and curative treatment to slow the condition’s progression while improving eyesight. In the meantime, some non-traditional methods have already been implemented to slow myopia worsening:
- Orthokeratology: It uses contact lenses but not in the traditional way. These lenses are hard on the cornea to modify its shape, which allows the patient to continue seeing correctly when the lenses are removed until the cornea returns to its original state. They are used mainly at night.
- Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses: These lenses seek to improve vision in the periphery, giving a myopic blurring effect to the retina, which acts as a signal to slow the growth and progression of the myopic eye.
- Atropine Eye Drops: Atropine at low concentrations has antispasmodic effects on small muscles, such as those in the eye, effectively controlling myopia. It can be used with the methods above or alone, depending on medical criteria.
Each of these myopia control methods provides, on average, a little less than 50% slowing of myopia progression, according to scientific reports. If you think you have myopia or are already nearsighted, do not hesitate to consult with our specialists to get the best control method.
- Li, F. F., & Yam, J. C. (2019). Low-concentration atropine eye drops for Myopia Progression. Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology (Philadelphia, Pa.), 8(5), 360–365.
- Nearsightedness (Myopia). (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from Nih.gov website: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/nearsightedness-myopia
- Nearsightedness (myopia) data and statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from Nih.gov website: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/resources-for-health-educators/eye-health-data-and-statistics/nearsightedness-myopia-data-and-statistics
- Țone, S., Niagu, I. A., Bogdănici, Ștefan T., & Bogdănici, C. M. (2020). Update in pediatric myopia treatment strategies. Romanian Journal of Ophthalmology, 64(3), 233–238.
- Wolffsohn, J. S., Flitcroft, D. I., Gifford, K. L., Jong, M., Jones, L., Klaver, C. C. W., … Wildsoet, C. F. (2019). IMI – Myopia Control reports overview and introduction. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 60(3), M1–M19.
- Zhu, Q., Liu, Y., Tighe, S., Zhu, Y., Su, X., Lu, F., & Hu, M. (2019). Retardation of myopia progression by multifocal soft contact lenses. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 16(2), 198–202.
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