Myopia, commonly known as narrow-sightedness and inability to see far, is a condition in which light causes blurred vision by focusing in front of the retina. The light rays in the images pass through the cornea and lenses in the front of the eye and focus on the retina at the back of the eye. For a person to see clearly, the image must focus directly on the retina. If the back of the eye grows and grows too quickly, the image becomes blurry because the image focuses in front of the retina. In this case, myopia occurs.
Who is at Risk of Becoming Myopic?
Usually, myopia is first seen in school-age children. Since the eyes continue to grow during childhood, they typically progress to about 20 years of age. However, adults may also develop nearsightedness due to health conditions such as visual stress or diabetes. This problem may also be caused by environmental factors or other health problems. Some people may only experience blurred distance vision at night. With this condition called night myopia, low light makes it difficult for eyes to focus properly or allows more peripheral, unfocused beam to enter the eye during dark conditions.
People who work closely with computers or writing can experience fake myopia. Blurred vision is caused by excessive use of the focusing mechanism of the eyes. After a long period of close working, the eyes cannot focus on seeing clearly. The clear distance vision often returns after the eyes have rested for a certain period of time. However, continuous visual stress may lead to a permanent reduction in vision over time. This problem is also more likely to occur in people with diabetes. All individuals at risk of myopia should go to the doctor’s supervision.
What are the Causes of Myopia?
Myopia or not being able to see far away occurs when the eyeball is too wide. Therefore, it affects the way the cornea and lens focus. This means that distant objects appear blurry because the rays focus on the front of the retina, not directly on the surface. In particular, the problem that causes the dilation of the eyeball is not fully known. However, other factors that may cause myopia include family history. This eye problem often passes from genes to people, and therefore, in the family, if the mother and father have myopia, it is likely that children will develop this problem. Much time spent outside, constant computer focusing and reading, increases the risk of nearsightedness. Some demographic features are among the causes of this problem. For example, myopia is more common in people of Asian origin. In the elderly, myopia may be an early symptom of cataracts. Myopia typically develops around puberty, but its onset may occur at any age.
What are Myopic Symptoms?
The common symptoms of myopia are typically distant objects that cannot be read clearly and it is difficult to see, and the person narrows their eyes to see the objects better. However, regular headaches and eye fatigue are experienced. The symptoms of this eye problem vary from person to person. Myopia usually begins during puberty and worsens until the eye is fully enlarged. Children can constantly rub their eyes or complain of headaches.
How is Myopic Diagnosed?
In the diagnosis of nearsightedness, the doctor may use a variety of procedures to measure how the eyes are focused on light and to determine the strength of the optical lenses needed to correct the reduction of vision.
As part of the test, the patient is asked to identify the letters on the distance graph. This test measures visual acuity written as a fraction such as 20/40. The upper number of the fraction is the standard distance (20 feet) from which the test is performed. The lowest number is the smallest letter size read. A person with 20/40 visual acuity must be within 20 feet to identify a letter clearly visible at 40 meters with a normal eye.
However, the doctor places a series of lenses in front of the eye and measures how they focus on the light using a handheld instrument called retinoscope, or the doctor may choose to use an automated machine that evaluates the focusing power of the eye. The machine is refined based on responses to identify lenses that provide clearer vision. The doctor may perform this test without using eye drops to determine how the eyes react under normal visual conditions. Using the information obtained from these tests, the doctor determines whether the patient is myopic. It will also determine the degree of lens required to ensure clear vision.
There are several treatment options for people with nearsightedness to regain clear visibility. These:
- Glasses: For most people with a myopic problem, glasses are the first choice of correcting the problem. Depending on the degree of nearsightedness, it may be necessary to wear glasses only for certain activities, such as watching movies or driving. If myopia is a little further, it is necessary to wear glasses permanently. In general, single-sight lenses are recommended to ensure clear vision at any distance. However, patients over the age of 40 or children and adults caused by myopic vision stress may require additional lenses. These multifocal lenses provide different features to ensure clear and close-up visibility throughout the lens.
- Contact lens: For some people, contact lenses offer a clearer view and a wider field of view than glasses. However, care must be taken to maintain eye health as contact lenses are worn directly into the eyes.
- Ortho-c or CRT: Another option for the treatment of myopia is orthokeratology (ortho-k), known as corneal fracture therapy (CRT). In this non-surgical application, a series of rigid contact lenses are specially designed to gradually reshape the curvature of the cornea, the anterior outer surface of the eye. Lenses apply pressure to the cornea. This changes the way light enters the eye.
- Laser treatment: Laser applications such as LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are also possible treatment options for myopia in adults. A laser beam reshapes the cornea by removing a certain amount of eye tissue. The level of myopia that PRK or LASIK can correct is limited by the amount of corneal tissue that can be safely removed. .
- Surgical treatment: People with advanced myopia or those whose corneas are too thin for laser procedures can correct this problem surgically. The doctor inserts small lenses with optical correction for the eyes. The implant can be placed just in front of the natural lens (phakic intraocular lens implant) or the implant can replace the natural lens (intraocular lens implantation and clear lens extraction). This clear lens extraction procedure is similar to cataract surgery, but occurs before the cataract is present.
- Visual therapy for people with stress-induced myopia: Visual therapy is a very good option for people caused by blurred vision distance, spasm of the muscles that control eye focus. Various eye exercises can improve poor eye focusing and restore clear distance vision.
Can Myopia’s Progress Be Stopped?
Unfortunately, children tend to worsen as the myopic problem grows. In young people, it is seen that when they are myopic, visual impairment deteriorates much faster and they become more severe in adulthood. This problem often terminates its progression around the age of 20-21. Currently, there is no treatment that can stop the progression of this eye problem.