How Serious is Myopia?

Myopia is a prevalent eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It's often regarded as a harmless condition that requires nothing more than a pair of glasses or contact lenses to correct. However, is that the whole truth? Is myopia truly a minor inconvenience, or is there more to this condition that we should be aware of?


What is myopia?


Myopia is a refractive error, meaning the eye doesn't bend light correctly, resulting in blurred vision. Those suffering from myopia can see objects close to them clearly, but objects farther away appear blurry. This condition usually begins in childhood and progressively worsens as the individual grows, often stabilizing in early adulthood.

However, it's not just about blurred distance vision. Myopia can have serious implications if it is not managed properly.


What causes myopia?


The causes of myopia are often attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. It tends to run in families, suggesting a hereditary influence. If one or both parents have myopia, the chances of their children developing the condition are higher.

Genetics alone cannot explain the recent surge in myopia cases worldwide. Hence, environmental factors play a crucial role too. Extended near work, like reading or looking at digital screens for long hours, has been linked to myopia development. Lack of outdoor activities and sunlight exposure also contribute to its onset.

The underlying mechanism involves the elongation of the eyeball. When the eyeball grows too long, it causes light entering the eye to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it, leading to blurry vision for distant objects.


Recognizing the Symptoms of Myopia


The symptoms of myopia are relatively easy to identify, and they typically start to manifest in a child's early school years. The most common symptom is difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. For example, a child might have trouble reading the board in school.

Other symptoms include squinting, excessive blinking, eye strain, and headaches. Some children might also show a lack of interest in outdoor activities and prefer near-work activities such as reading or drawing. These are all indications that the child may be developing myopia.


The Seriousness of Myopia: Unpacking the Reality


How serious is myopia? Unfortunately, it's more serious than most people realize. Myopia isn't just a refractive error; it's a significant risk factor for several eye diseases. High degrees of myopia can lead to retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and even blindness in severe cases.

Myopia also affects a person's quality of life. It can restrict their activities and limit their career options. For children, it can impact their academic performance and social interactions.


The Importance of Controlling Myopia


Controlling myopia doesn't just improve vision; it also reduces the risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. It's important to remember that while glasses and contact lenses correct the symptoms of myopia, they do not slow its progression.

Early detection and intervention are key to controlling myopia. If myopia is detected in a child's early years, steps can be taken to slow its progression.

Regular eye exams play a crucial role in myopia detection and control. An eye exam can detect myopia even before a child starts showing symptoms. Regular check-ups allow for early intervention and can slow down the progression of myopia, reducing the risk of developing high myopia in the future.

Eye exams also help monitor the progression of myopia. If a child's myopia continues to worsen despite interventions, the eye care professional can adapt the treatment plan accordingly.


Myopia Management Methods for Children


There are several myopia management methods for children that have proven to be effective. These include specially designed contact lenses, atropine eye drops, and lifestyle modifications.

MiSight contact lenses, designed for daily use, incorporate a dual-focus technology that helps slow down the progression of myopia by simultaneously correcting distance vision and inducing myopic defocus. This unique approach aims to reduce the elongation of the eye, a key factor in myopia development.

Atropine drops, when prescribed at a low concentration, can relax the eye muscles, preventing excessive eye growth.

Encouraging children to spend more time outdoors and limiting their screen time can also contribute to controlling myopia.


Navigating Myopia Effectively


Myopia is not just about needing glasses. It's a condition that requires serious attention and management. Early detection and effective management are essential to preventing its progression and the associated risks.

To learn more about myopia and management methods, visit You & Eye at our office in West Linn, Oregon. Please call (503) 723-3000 to schedule an appointment today.