Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a condition that causes blurry vision when looking in the distance, but not when looking at near objects. Today, nearly one out of two people have Myopia and the prevalence of myopia is projected to continue to rise. Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long, preventing light rays from being focused directly onto the retina. Myopia can also be caused by excessive curvature of the cornea, lens abnormalities, or accommodative (eye focusing) disorders.
Who does it affect?
Generally, Myopia is first noticed (or diagnosed) in school age children. The eyes grow until early adulthood and onset of Myopia can happen at any time, so it's especially important for kids to be tested regularly throughout childhood.
Symptoms to look for
Look for symptoms including frequent squinting, blinking or eye rubbing, headaches, being unaware of distant objects, and falling behind or poor grades in school. Remember, a comprehensive exam given by an eye care professional is the best way to detect myopia.
What causes it?
Causes include heredity (passed down by one or both parents) and not spending sufficient time outdoors. Reading and using hand-held electronic devices non-stop for hours may also contribute to developing myopia.
What can worsen myopia?
There are several factors that have been proven to stimulate further elongation of the eye. These include under-correction of myopia (when patient does not wear full prescription) and part-time correction of myopia (when patient only wears their glasses some of the time). Large amounts of time performing near tasks such as reading, doing homework, or looking at electronic devices may also play a role in myopia development. A good practice to incorporate into your lifestyle, is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Why is myopia a big deal?
Progressive myopia may also indicate further elongation of the eye, which can dramatically increase the risk of developing retinal holes, retinal tears, retinal detachments, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. These are potentially blinding conditions that may be prevented by slowing the growth of the eye.
Don't go untreated
Myopia is a progressive vision disorder that can worsen over time, and can increase the chances of developing cataracts, retinal detachment or glaucoma. The key to good eye health is consistent checkups with a qualified eye care professional.
As the school year comes to an end and students are out on summer break, there is no better time to schedule an annual eye exam at your local MyEyeDr. office.
MyEyeDr. is a network of optometry practices that offer comprehensive eye care services, a selection of designer and value prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and standard to specialty prescription contact lenses. By welcoming all vision insurance plans and providers, MyEyeDr. makes vision health attainable for everyone. For more information, visit www.myeyedr.com.