Myopia is simply the medical term for nearsightedness: when you can see objects that are nearby but are unable to clearly see objects at a distance.
Myopia is by far the most common refractive error in the world today. It is expected that half all people alive in 2050 will have some form of the disorder, according to the International Myopia Institute.
Is “High Myopia” Really a Thing?
Absolutely! “High myopia” is really bad nearsightedness. The optical ability of someone with moderate myopia is measured at between -3.00 to -6.00 diopters (D). For high myopia, it’s a refractive error greater than -6.00 D. In general, the higher the number, the less able you are to see objects at a distance.
If you have high myopia, it can be difficult to see anything more than a foot or so away from your face – and you may even be considered legally blind when not wearing corrective lenses. In other words, if you have high myopia, you’ll need to wear glasses or contacts pretty much all the time.
How Myopia Affects Your Vision
Perfect vision requires a smooth and equally curved surface of the cornea and lens. It’s this curve that refracts (bends) incoming light equally onto the retina at the back of the eye.
Refractive errors are common vision disorders in which the shape of your eye prevents you from clearly focusing on objects within your line of sight. Light only inadequately or unevenly reaches the retina at the back of the eye, making what you’re looking at appear blurry. It can even cause double vision, squinting, eyestrain, and headaches.
The two most common refractive errors are:
- Myopia (nearsightedness) – seeing clearly up close, but objects at a distance appear blurry
- Hyperopia (farsightedness) – seeing clearly into the distance, but up-close objects appear blurry
Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball itself is longer than normal or the cornea covering the front of the eye has too much of a curve. Farsightedness results from a shorter-than-usual eyeball or the cornea being flat or having too little curve in it. The other main refractive errors include astigmatism – when the cornea or lens shape can cause either nearsightedness or farsightedness, or both – and presbyopia – when the lens becomes rigid over time, making close-up vision blurry. Presbyopia is the reason why most people need reading glasses as they age.
Both myopia (including high myopia) and hyperopia tend to run in families and begin in childhood. The conditions typically worsen during puberty, then stabilize in early adulthood. Myopia may sometimes begin to worsen once again in middle age, usually after the age of 50.
Treatment Options for High Myopia
Myopia is considered a correctable form of vision loss. Treating the condition is important, not just to see better but to avoid serious additional eye problems. That’s because people with uncorrected myopia have an increased risk of developing sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
Glasses & Contacts
Corrective lenses are the first line of defense against refractive errors, and especially myopia. Glasses are the simplest method, although it involves always wearing glasses whenever you want to see clearly. Contacts are another type of corrective lens people with myopia often rely on. It can free you from having to wear glasses, although it can involve extra time and effort to properly put in, remove, and clean the contacts.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery is a way to permanently correct refractive errors like high myopia. Laser-assisted situ keratomileusis – commonly referred to as LASIK – is a specific type of laser eye surgery that is often considered the procedure of choice for patients with high myopia.
The LASIK procedure been around since the early 1990s. It is a safe, effective, and precise way to change the shape of your cornea to fix refractive errors like high myopia. Not everyone is a good candidate for a LASIK procedure, so be sure to ask your ophthalmologist whether the procedure may be right for you.
High Myopia Treatment in Miami, FL
Do you or a loved one have extreme nearsightedness, a condition called high myopia? It is critical to treat the condition in order to preserve your vision and maintain good eye health. Find out what your high myopia treatment options are by calling The Laser Center of Coral Gables in Miami, Florida, at (305) 461-0003. You can also request an appointment or simply send us a message now.