Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is an eye-focusing disorder that affects a person’s ability to see distant objects. It is a common condition that affects nearly 30% of the U.S. population with numbers continuing to rise each year. A person with myopia needing corrective lenses of -6.00D(diopters) or above is generally defined as having high myopia.
Myopia can affect people of any age, but it often first occurs in school-age children, becoming progressively worse during the teen years, and often stabilizing in the 20s. People with myopia can see close objects clearly, but objects further away appear blurry or out of focus. For example, with myopia, you can read a book clearly, but can’t see enough to drive a car. Myopia can vary in severity and in cases of mild myopia, treatment may not even be necessary.
For us to see clearly, light rays have to travel through the front layers of the eye, which consists of the cornea and the lens. Together, they work to bend light, so that it lands on the retina at the back of the eye, which then sends a signal to the brain to enable us to see. With myopia, the shape of the eye prevents the light from bending properly. Often, the eye is slightly too long, or the cornea is too steeply curved, which prevents light from being focused accurately on the retina. This results in blurred or distorted vision when looking at distant objects. Myopia can also cause symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, and squinting to see clearly.
Risk Factors For Myopia
The exact causes of myopia are still not fully understood but having a parent with myopia does increase the risk of developing the condition. If both parents have myopia, the risk is even higher. Along with genetic factors, other factors have been linked to myopia, such as not spending enough time outdoors in natural light, especially during childhood.
People with myopia have an increased risk of certain eye conditions, such as a detached retina, which is a serious eye problem that can lead to blindness if left untreated. There is also a greater risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and other diseases if you have myopia.
Diagnosing High Myopia
If you have difficulty seeing distant objects, are finding your vision problem is affecting your ability to perform a task, or have other symptoms such as headaches or eyestrain, you should visit an optometrist. They can carry out an eye examination to assess your eye health and evaluate the extent of your vision problem.
Eye exams and vision tests are crucial for eye health. Regular screenings can help to detect eye and vision problems in their earliest stages when treatment is typically more effective, and they can help to prevent problems from getting worse. In addition to this, young children with myopia may not complain about blurry vision, making regular vision screenings a good way to detect any issues early on.
During a vision test, diopters are used to measure the focusing power of the eyes. This determines the strength that lenses need to be to focus the eye and enable clear vision. When someone has myopia, this is recorded with a minus power. The higher the number, the more nearsighted someone is. If myopia is measured at -6.00D or above, this is categorized as severe or high myopia.
Treatment for Myopia
If your vision impairment is affecting your ability to carry out tasks, such as driving, or is causing symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain, you will likely require treatment. Treatment for myopia will depend on the degree of your vision impairment along with other factors such as eye health, general health, age, and personal preferences. Treatment aims to improve vision and treat any complications. Your optometrist will help you decide which treatment options are most suitable for your condition. The most popular treatments for myopia include:
Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses
Eyeglasses or contact lenses are simple methods to correct myopia. They work to focus light on the retina to help you see more clearly. There are a variety of options to choose from to suit your lifestyle, budget, and vision needs. Over time, you will likely need new prescriptions as your eyes change.
Refractive surgery is a safe and effective, long-term treatment that is used to correct certain types of refractive vision problems, including myopia. A popular type of refractive surgery for myopia is LASIK eye surgery. This is a quick procedure that involves reshaping and modifying the eye’s cornea to improve the clarity of vision. The treatment is customized to suit your specific requirements, allowing you to see clearly without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Your eye doctor will help you decide if you are a good candidate for laser eye surgery. To be a good candidate, you need to:
- Have a stable eye prescription (for the past 1-2 years)
- Have relatively good eye health
- Be 18 years old or older
- Have good physical health (some conditions, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease may prevent laser eye surgery)
High Myopia Treatment Near Me in Miami, Florida
If you have myopia and would like to find out if you are a candidate for refractive eye surgery, contact The Laser Center of Coral Gables. Our dedicated and qualified team of eyecare experts, including optometrists and leading surgeons, is experienced in a range of mild to severe eye conditions and can help you decide which procedure is best for your vision and lifestyle needs.