An In-Depth Look Into Myopia: Dangers and Management
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Myopia or near-sightedness is a progressive eye disease that allows you to see objects closer to you clearly but causes anything at a distance to appear blurry. Since it's so prevalent in today's society, people tend not to take it as seriously as they should. However, recent studies by researchers shows progressive Myopia in children has the potential to cause several eye conditions, some of which can even lead to complete blindness if left untreated.
Kinds of Myopia
Non-progressive near-sightedness can be caused by an overly curved cornea or lens, which leads to light honing in on the front of the retina. This kind of Myopia is often less harmful and can be treated easily with a regular pair of glasses or contact lenses.
The more predominant cause of this condition is an elongated eye, where everything is correctly shaped except your eye. The longer eye makes for greater distances between the cornea and lens, which also leads to the front of the retina receiving all of the light. Unlike in the first case, this form of Myopia is commonly progressive and usually starts when the eye is growing the most i.e., ages 10 and below.
Causes of Myopia
In many cases, near-sightedness is hereditary. Most people with Myopia have one or both parents with the same condition. This isn't to say that you should discount non-genetic factors that can lead to its worsening.
These factors can accelerate the worsening of myopia:
- Spending too much time in front of a screen
- Not spending enough time outside (deficiency of sunlight)
- Doing too much near-work
Studies show that with the advent of smartphones, computers, and the like, cases of Myopia have skyrocketed, proving that it isn't all in the genes.
Potential consequences of not treating Myopia
The myth people too often believe is that the only real consequence of Myopia is blurry vision. This is patently false. When the more progressive forms of Myopia go untreated, you risk contracting several eye diseases. These are just some examples:
Glaucoma encompasses a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is caused by pressure built within the ocular region. Oftentimes, this disease has no symptoms. You probably wouldn't notice it until it's progressed to its advanced stages. Without taking the proper steps to manage it, it can lead to permanent blindness. See an eye specialist if you've been experiencing migraines, eye pain, or blurry vision.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not immune to getting cataracts just because you're young. Cataracts are when the lens of your eye has been clouded over and is highly detrimental to your quality of life. It is a gradual progression and might take a while to fully manifest. When it does, your vision will be severely impeded unless you get cataract surgery done. Some of the early symptoms of the condition include cloudy vision, “dirty spectacle lens” effect, and occasionally headaches.
3. Retinal detachment
Retinal detachment is where your retina is slowly being shifted from its position at the back of your eye. When this occurs, the retinal cells are pushed away from the blood vessel that provides them with the oxygen needed for its upkeep. The longer it goes unnourished, the more you risk permanent blindness. To prevent this, get an eye check-up when you experience the following signs:
- Sudden onset of floaters (>100 within a short period)
- Shadowy vision
- Flashes of light in your vision (e.g. seeing lightning in a room)
4. Myopic maculopathy
The central region of the retina is called the macula and it facilitates the clearest vision. When axial elongation occurs in a person suffering from high myopia, it mechanically stretches the retinal layers that have incurred vascular and degenerative changes. These are the symptoms of this condition.
- Vision loss
- Distorted vision
The table shows the increasing risk relative to the myopic degree of your eyes. High myopia increases the risks of certain eye diseases exponentially.*
Near-sightedness is pervasive in today's day and age. However, this doesn't mean you should underestimate the condition. Left untreated, it can result in severe and irreversible eye conditions. Fortunately, getting a regular general eye check-up in Singapore is a great way to manage these conditions through preventative means. At The Eyes Inc., we are Singapore's go-to destination for your eye-related needs and concerns. Contact us today to learn more!
*Credits to Singapore National Eye Center Myopia Center