What is Myopia?
Myopia is also known as near-sightedness or short-sightedness. It is a common eye condition that causes the patient to see distant objects as blurred, despite seeing their close surroundings very clearly. Myopia occurs when a patient’s eye is either too long or the cornea is too curved (or a combination of the two). So, in a myopic patient, light is focused in front of the retina at the back of the eye, instead of to a sharp focus onto the retina. Myopia can be mild, moderate or severe (high myopia).
Symptoms and signs
People with myopia suffer from blurred distance vision that is worse at night or in dusk-like conditions, although their near vision will be very good. Patients with myopia symptoms may try to “screw up” their eyes in the early stages to try and compensate for their blurred vision, but without optical correction there is no way of compensating or overcoming this visual disorder.
Who is affected by myopia?
Myopia is a very common eye condition, affecting all sections of the population. It often starts to develop in childhood or adolescence, although it can start at any age. Since the degree of myopia increases with increases in eye length, this condition has a trend to worsen during puberty when growth is at a maximum. It is quite common for individuals with myopia to have the eye condition diagnosed in their teenage years and for them to go through a period of worsening as they grow taller and their eyes grow longer. It tends to stabilise by the time you reach your late teens or early 20s, although there is variance in this.
Some people are at higher risk of myopia, such as those with diabetes or some types of cataracts. People who do a lot of close-up reading (on a computer or on paper) are more likely to develop it. Myopia also has a strong hereditary component, so if it runs in the family, you are at a higher risk of getting it yourself.
Myopia treatment options:
Traditional correction: glasses or contact lenses in the form of negative lenses
Non-surgical treatment options: orthokeratology or ortho K – This myopia treatment involves the wearing of rigid contact lenses overnight which alter (flatten) the shape of the cornea to reduce the overall power of the eye and decrease the degree of myopia. The change in shape induced by these contact lenses lasts around 1 to 2 days, and for a longer effect lenses need to be worn more regularly. It may be suitable for mild to moderate degrees of myopia. It works by starving your cornea of oxygen which stresses the tissue and causes it to swell and change shape. The long term effects of this treatment are not known.
- Laser eye surgery involves reshaping the cornea using lasers, correcting the way that the eye focuses light. It’s a popular procedure that will usually correct an individual’s vision permanently.
- Lens implant surgery involves inserting an implantable contact lens into the eye behind the cornea, to help correct vision. It is a relatively new myopia treatment procedure that is usually chosen by adults with severe myopia or additional eye damage.
- Clear Lens Extraction (the same as cataract surgery but involves the removal of a clear crystalline lens (with no cataract). This is a less commonly chosen myopia treatment option.
The type of surgical correction that is most suited to you will depend on a number of different factors that will be considered by your eye surgeon, including your age, the degree of short sightedness you have, the thickness of your corneas and any other co-existing ocular conditions that you may have.
If you suffer from myopia and would like to know more about the different myopia treatment options available, contact us now or call us on 020 3369 2020.