If reading a highway sign or watching distant object is getting increasingly difficult but easier to read a book up close, you may have nearsightedness or myopia.
When the light rays that enter the eyes do not focus correctly and the image is not formed on retina (light sensitive part of eye) but in front of it and causes blurred vision then it is known as myopia or nearsightedness.
It nearly affects 20%-30% of the population and is treated by eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. Myopia is genetic and usually appears in childhood.
Most common symptom is blurred distant vision. Other symptoms that can be experienced are-
- Eye strain
- Eye fatigue
- Childhood myopia with difficulty in reading from blackboard in school
Diagnosis is confirmed by an eye examination. If the tests indicates a possible problem with your distance vision, you may be asked to repeat the visual acuity tests while different strength lenses are placed in front of your eyes.
The treatment options are power glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgeries. When you have myopia, prescription for glasses or contact lenses will be a negative number. The stronger lenses have more negative number. Refractive surgery can reduce or even eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. The most common procedures for myopia are performed with a laser, including:
Photorefractive keratectomy- In this laser is used to remove a layer of cornea which flattens it and hence image is formed on retina.
LASIK-This the most common surgery for myopia. Laser is used to cut a flap through the top of the cornea, a laser removes some corneal tissue, then the flap is dropped back into place.
Complications of Myopia-
High myopia– It is a more serious form of illness where the eyeball elongated and besides blurry vision it leads to detached retina, cataract and glaucoma.
Degenerative myopia– Also called as pathological or malignant myopia.It is inherited and in it the eyeball gets elongated very quickly leading to severe myopia. It mostly occurs during childhood or adolescence and gets worse in adulthood. You may have higher chances of detached retina, abnormal blood vessels in the eye and glaucoma.
Myopia generally starts in childhood and generally stabilises around adulthood. But if you notice any changes in your vision, blurry images and headaches, it is a good time to get your eye checked.
Dr Prerna Gaur