Myopia, the Epidemic You Did Not See Coming

Myopia is more commonly known as nearsightedness. It is the most common cause of legal blindness in people over 40 years of age. Over the years, its prevalence has reached an alarming rate.

Studies suggest that in 2020, only 25% of the people globally will be myopic. But in 2025, almost half of the world will be affected.

What Are the Symptoms of Myopia?

Difficulty in reading from afar is the first sign of myopia. Road signs, text messages, and other small objects become blurry from afar but get clearer the more you put it closer to you. Squinting, frequent eye strain, headaches, and fatigue when doing activities may also be symptoms of myopia.

If you experience these signs or symptoms while wearing glasses or contact lenses, this may mean you need a new prescription. Contact your eye doctor immediately for a consultation.

Myopia, the Epidemic You Did Not See Coming

What Are the Causes of Myopia?

Myopia is caused by an elongated eyeball which makes it harder for the cornea to focus on objects. An elongated eyeball causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina instead of focusing directly on its surface.

Another cause of myopia could be cornea that is too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia is caused by both of these factors. Myopia normally starts during childhood which is more likely to be inherited from myopic parents. For most people, nearsightedness is stabilized in early adulthood but there are some people whose myopia continues to progress even in adulthood.

Myopia, the Epidemic You Did Not See Coming

How Can Myopia Be Treated?

Prescription glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery may correct myopia. Refractive surgery may actually help eliminate the need for eyeglasses or graded contact lenses. The well-known surgeries use an excimer laser.

  • PRK laser – This procedure removes a layer of your corneal tissue to flatten the cornea and allow a more accurate focus of light rays on the retina.
  • LASIK – This is the most popular refractive procedure wherein the surgeon creates a thin flap on the surface of the cornea. The laser removes a part of the corneal tissue then the flap is positioned back to its original location.

Then there are temporary non-surgical procedures like orthokeratology. This is a special rigid gas permeable contact lens that acts as retainers at night. They temporarily shape your cornea while you sleep so you could see clearly in the morning without glasses or graded contact lenses. This is a good alternative for refractive surgery and an effective solution to the temporary correction of mild to moderate stages of myopia.

For people who do not meet the age requirement for LASIK and who are not good candidates for refractive surgery, you could also opt for phakic IOLs. These are implantable lenses to correct severe myopia. Phakic IOLs function like contact lenses, but they are permanently placed under a surgery.

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