What is myopia?
Myopia is a common eye focus disorder and affects a significant percentage of the world population. It is a condition when people cannot see objects at a distance as it appears blurry. For example, a driver may not be able to see a distant road sign until they move closer to it. However, most people with myopia have no problem seeing things that are relatively nearer. Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long, causing the image to be formed in front of the retina instead of on it.
This condition, also called near-sightedness or short-sightedness, can develop from an early age and get worse with age. Myopia can increase gradually or rapidly depending on the individual. It is also hereditary, which means it can get passed on from the parent to the child. When both your parents have it, the risk of the child developing myopia is higher. Activities such as constantly using smartphones or laptops can raise the chance of one developing myopia. You can correct it through eyeglasses, surgery or contact lenses.
If you or a family member is suffering from blurry vision, it is best to visit your eye doctor to get your eyes tested through a regular eye exam first.
Symptoms of myopia
- l Far away objects are blurred and fuzzy
- l Squinting
- l Close items appear clear
- l Headaches
- l Tiredness while doing activities
Once you visit the doctor for an eye exam, you will be put through a series of tests that will help the doctor come to a conclusion regarding your eyesight.
- l Eye drops are used to dilate the eyes during the eye health exam. Dilation helps doctors get a better view of your eyes.
- l The eye exam includes a refraction assessment and an eye health exam.
- l You will be tested for near-sightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism.
- l Doctors will test your vision by asking you to look through various lenses.
For children who cannot explain to an adult that they are having blurry vision, it is important to note for certain symptoms, such as,
Symptoms in children with myopia
– Short or no attention span
– Holding objects close to the face
– Bad grades
– Rubbing eyes
– Sitting too close to the television
– Eyes watering
– Behavioural problems
– Closing one eye to read
A well-maintained diet also helps in controlling your eyesight.
Foods that induce myopia
You need to limit the intake of refined vegetable oils, white bread, pasta, caffeine, processed food, foods with too much sugar content and processed meats.
Consuming too much of the above foods is bad for health and worsens the vision in the long run.
Other Risk factors
- l Genetic factors ( You are more likely to develop it if one of your parents or both your parents have this condition)
- l Age (If a child is diagnosed with myopia before he is 12 years, the condition can progress rapidly and be present throughout their life)
- l Habits (Reducing screen time can reduce the risk of developing myopia)
- l Diabetes (Diabetes can lead to mild to moderate myopia)
- l A survey revealed that people in urban areas are more likely to develop it than people in rural areas due to environmental factors.
Ways to slow down myopia
- l Topical atropine drops are used to dilate the pupil during/before/after eye exams. These drops help to slow down the progression of myopia.
- l Spending a lot of time outdoors during adolescence and early adult years can decrease the risk of developing near-sightedness.
- l Wearing a permeable contact lens for several hours a day is done till the curvature of your eyes even out.
- l Dual focus lenses slow down myopia progression, especially in children between 8 and 12 years.
- l You can choose to use contact lenses or glasses to help you see better.
- l Though it may be expensive, refractive surgery reduces the need to wear glasses or contacts. Eye surgeons use laser beams to reshape the cornea, which reduces your near sight prescription.
- l Since it is not practical to stop using devices and gadgets, limiting time spent on devices such as laptops, desktops, phones, and play stations can help control myopia progression.
- l Orthokeratology is considered an excellent alternative to refractive surgery. In this simple procedure, one must wear a gas permeable lens overnight. Wearing these lenses help in reshaping the curvature of your eyes while you are asleep. When you wake up, the lens is removed, and your vision is back to normal.
Our vision is critical to having a good quality of life. Regular eye check-ups, eating right, and regular exercise can go a long way in helping you keep your vision healthy. Visit your nearest Sankara Eye Hospital today for eye-related queries or check-ups.