Myopia is also known as short-sightedness or also near-sightedness. It is an eye disorder which affects individual’s eye ability to focus on farther objects. A person is able to see objects clearly that are close but fails to focus on farther ones. This happens because light that enters the eye gets focused before the retina itself rather on retina which causes blurry vision for distant objects. This is basically a refractive error that makes watching television, reading or doing regular activities tough. People with myopic eye generally complain of headaches, irritating and aching eyes, as symptoms.
Genetics, environmental risks and some medical factors are among the major causes of near-sightedness. Growing children are at a greater risk to develop myopia as their eyes are tender that need special care. Adults too can develop short-sightedness owing to a lot of factors like doing work that involves looking at closer objects for too long, spending time way too much indoors, or spending lot of hours in front of digital screens etc.
In myopic eye either the eye ball is too long or the lens becomes too strong that forces the light to get focused before falling on retina. Hence, if myopia is not paid attention well in time, it can lead to severe eye problems such as retinal detachment, cataract, vision impairment, macular degeneration and glaucoma. In children, short-sightedness can increase the risk of developing squint and lazy eye. Medical conditions such as diabetes come with myopic development as an initial indicator of fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Although myopia treatment today is common, highly affordable and easy, but prevention is always wise. Young children and even adults should be encouraged to spend time in outdoor physical activities. This helps in development of eyeballs and increase visual stimuli. Also, more exposure to the natural light than artificial indoor light results in release of more retinal dopamine. Adoption of reading glasses for doing close work can provide some protection.
Diagnosis and treatment:
To start myopia treatment, an accurate diagnosis is very much needed so as to determine the lens power for the patient. A visual acuity test that requires the patient to read a 20/40 distance chart is performed. Instruments such as phoropter and retinoscope are used to identify the strength of eye’s lens to focus light. Sometimes eye drops are also used during checkups to get accurate power and results.
Myopia treatment in India and elsewhere is done with the use of eyeglasses, contact lens or refractive surgery. The most common and considered safest of all are the eyeglasses as there is a risk of infection associated with contact lens, if not worn with proper protocol. Refractive surgery is performed to permanently change the shape of cornea, i.e. the corneal curvature. Various types of surgeries performed are PRK/LASEK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), LASIK, Phakic intra-ocular lens etc. LASIK is generally painless but needs a lot of post-surgical care. Apart from these procedures vision therapy and orthokeratology are also performed.