Myopia, or near sightedness is one of the most common refractive issues of the eye. In recent years there has been a marked increase in myopia, both in children and in adults and a study by the National Eye Institute of the USAshowed that the prevalence for myopia grew from 25% in 1971-1972, to a massive 41.6 % in 1999-2004.
The exact cause of the rapid increase in near sightedness is unknown, but many doctors and medical professionals have stated that they consider eye fatigue caused by regular extended computer or smartphone use and other tasks that require near vision, combined with a myopic genetic predisposition to be contributing to the rising number of cases.
Knowing The Signs
If you have trouble reading street signs, or seeing objects in the distance but can cope easily with up close reading tasks, the chances are, you are myopic. Other signs of myopia that you need to look out for are eyestrain, especially after spending a long time in front of the TV or computer, or squinting to focus. If you feel fatigued after driving even for a short distance, trying to read a chalkboard or notes in a lecture theatre, or when playing sports, this can also be a sign of myopia.
If you identify with any of these symptoms it’s essential that you schedule an eye exam as you can do long term damage to your eyes if you don’t address the issue up front. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, you may need a stronger prescription, as myopia can become worse over time.
Causes Of Myopia
Aside from the potential link between spending hours in front of the computer, myopia’s physiological cause is due to the eyeball being too long in relation to the focusing power of the cornea and the eye’s lens. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than on its surface. The cornea, or the eye’s lens being too curved for the eyeball’s length can also cause myopia, or it can be a combination of these factors.
Typically, myopia begins in childhood and you can be genetically predisposed to it. Often near-sightedness will stabilise in adulthood and glasses may only be needed for driving or other similar tasks, or it may get gradually worse.
Treatment Of Myopia
Myopia can easily be corrected with contact lenses or glasses, although in some cases patients may opt for laser or refractive eye surgery if this is a feasible alternative. Depending on the severity of your near-sightedness you may need to wear glasses at all times, or only for when clear, long distance vision is required.
If you are near-sighted the prescription of your glasses is the indicator as to how severe your myopia is. Your glasses or contact lens prescription will be preceded by a minus, and the higher the number after the minus, the more myopic you are.
If you think you have myopia, want to find out more or need a new glasses or contact lens prescription, pop into EyeQ and chat to one of our friendly, professional optometrists about your eye health needs