Myopia or nearsightedness is a disorder of the eye that makes it difficult for the person to see distant objects clearly. It is a common disorder affecting 20 to 30% of the population. This condition is known to run in families and mostly affects children in their early adolescent years. In some cases, it plateaus or worsens with time as they grow older. It occurs as a result of a refractive error that leads to bending of the rays incorrectly into the eye. This results in focusing on the image in front of the retina and a blurred image are transmitted to the brain. This occurs because people with myopia have too much curvature in their cornea or their aqueous chamber is too deep.(1)
What Are The First Symptoms Of Nearsightedness?
The first symptoms of myopia or nearsightedness include complaints of headaches and strain in the eye. The headache is persistent and can be severe in some cases that do not go away on medication. Children will mostly complain of not seeing distant objects clearly and there is an undue strain in their eyes while reading the board in class. They also experience fatigue in their eyes while working or playing games. In some children squinting might also be present as a result of myopia. Adults will have a problem in performing day to day activities while working and driving.(1)
Myopia is a common cause of eye disability affecting children worldwide. It can lead to vision impairment and blindness if not treated on time due to co-morbidities that might present with it. Pathological myopia is often associated with serious conditions such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma that can lead to blindness or permanent vision impairment. Pathological myopia is known to occur when the refractive error is more than -6 diopters whereas the refractive error less than -6 diopters causes simple myopia. Simple myopia is easy to correct with either the use of spectacles or contact lenses but pathological myopia requires surgical correction of the underlying condition.(2)
How Do You Test For Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness can be diagnosed on the basis of a positive history given by the patient followed by an eye examination. The ophthalmologist will try to assess the power of the eye, accommodation, and degree of refractive error present in the eye. Other conditions leading to vision impairment such as presbyopia, farsightedness, and astigmatism might also be determined.(2)
Once the condition has been diagnosed the plan of treatment is initiated. A person with simple myopia is relatively easy to treat with the use of eyeglasses or spectacles. They sharpen the eyesight and correct the refractive error and allow focusing of the image on the retina (light sensitive area). Contact lenses are worn directly on the eyes and they are available in different materials and designs that correct the nearsightedness and other vision abnormalities. Surgery is another method to correct the eye abnormalities that reduces the need to wear spectacles and contact lenses. LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses), LASEK (laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are surgical procedures done to correct the eyesight.(3)
Some medications are also used to slow or stop the progression of myopia. These include the use of topical drugs such as atropine that dilate the pupil and relax the eyes. It is also advised to engage in outdoor activities and games as exposure to UV rays might help in the restructuring of the sclera and cornea of the eyes. Orthokeratology helps in evening out the curvature of the eye and ultimately returning the eye structure to its normal shape. A healthy lifestyle also helps in slowing the progression of nearsightedness. Eating healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are known to beneficial for the eyesight. Protecting eyes from direct sunlight and injuries caused due to toxins, paints and sharp objects is also important.(3)