One of the most common vision problems that affect people of all ages is myopia, or nearsightedness. People with myopia can see objects close to them clearly, but objects farther away are blurry to some degree. This vision issue is caused by a refractive error, which means the eye cannot bend (refract) light properly. When this occurs, light is not focusing correctly on objects, people, and any other image. An estimated 40 percent of Americans have myopia and it is the most common cause of impaired vision in people under the age of 40. In recent years, the prevalence of myopia in younger people is growing at a very high rate. Just a few short decades ago, just 25 percent of Americans had myopia. This number has nearly doubled. One of the most important things people with myopia can do is to come into First Eye Care McKinney for a comprehensive eye exam. While we cannot stop myopia from developing, there are a handful of things we can do to slow down the progression of the common eye disease.
Causes of Myopia
Myopia is caused by the eye growing too long from front to back, which leads to the light coming into focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. In other cases, myopia may develop when the cornea has too much curvature for the length of the eye, or when the lens inside the eye is too thick.
Symptoms and Signs of Myopia
If you notice that objects in the distance are blurry or you cannot read street signs clearly when driving, you may have myopia. The most important distinction between myopia and other vision problems is that if you have myopia, you can still see objects nearby clearly. This is why myopia is referred to as nearsightedness. Let’s now take a look at some of the most common signs and symptoms of myopia:
- Eye strain
- Blurry vision when looking at objects in the distance
- Difficulty seeing while driving (especially at night)
- Excessive blinking
- Unaware of distance objects
In many cases, nearsightedness is detected and diagnosed during childhood. While researchers are unsure why myopia is becoming so common, one thing we know is that getting regular vision check-ups is the key to treating the condition. Unfortunately, many are attributing the increase in myopia cases to technology and our reliance on computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. Digital eye strain and damage from blue light is serious and causing more and more vision problems for people – both young and old.
Research has shown that the progression of myopia can be reduced by nearly 50 percent using the following treatment methods:
- Vision correction – The first step for those having difficulty seeing objects far away is vision correction. Both glasses and contact lenses can help correct nearsightedness, which may stop it from progressing too quickly.
- Spending time outdoors – Numerous studies indicate that spending time outdoors – instead of on computers and smartphones – can reduce the progression of nearsightedness.
- Orthokeratology – Also referred to as corneal refractive therapy (CRT), orthokeratology basically molds and reshapes the cornea gently using special molds similar to rigid gas permeable lenses.
- Multifocal soft contact lenses – Wearing soft contact lenses have been proven to stop the progression of myopia by 25 percent.
- Nutrition – Studies have shown that nutrition can impact the development and progression of myopia. Some recommend a diet close to the “hunter-gatherer” diet in place of one that is high in carbohydrates.
To learn more about myopia or to schedule an appointment with a doctor at First Eye Care McKinney, please contact us today.