What is Myopia?
Myopia is what most people call short-sightedness. Short-sighted people do not see distant objects clearly. They find it hard to read road signs and scoreboards. Recognising people in the distance and playing ball games also may be a problem for many short-sighted people. Often a person will not realise that they cannot see clearly but an eye examination by an optometrist will reveal the problem.
How common is Myopia?
It is a very common condition. With approximately 15% of the population being short-sighted. Usually myopia starts to develop in teenage years and may get worse in early adulthood.
How can I tell if my child is shortsighted?
A complete eye test is the only sure way of determining whether your child’s vision is normal. There is evidence that show that children with short-sighted parents are at a higher risk of developing short sightedness. Some clues to myopia in a child are:
- Squinting eyes to see distant objects.
- Difficulty in reading the blackboard at school.
- Poor posture while reading.
- Lack of interest in playing outdoor games.
Can Myopia be cured?
No, but properly prescribed spectacles or contact lenses will enable the person to see clearly. There are also a number of techniques available for re-shaping the eye to correct for myopia. One technique (known as orthokeratology or ‘Ortho-K’) uses rigid contact lenses to change the shape of the cornea. Other techniques use laser surgery to remove tissue from the cornea, leaving it with a flatter surface.
Can Myopia be prevented?
There is no certain prevention for myopia. However, studies have shown that the use of orthokeratology contact lenses was found to slow down the progression of myopia in children.
How does Myopia affect the health of my eyes?
High levels of myopia can cause other, more serious problems. People with high levels of myopia often have very large, elongated eyes, and their retinas may be stretched and thinner than normal. This increases the risk of the retina developing holes and tears and the risk of retinal detachments. If you are myopic you should have regular eye examinations, and talk to your optometrist about the potential for problems.