Facts about High Myopia
Myopia is a common cause of visual impairment that makes it difficult for an individual to see things that are at a distance. The more severe variation of this condition is known as high myopia, a term used to describe short-sightedness with a dioptre of -6.00 or higher. The result is an uncorrected visual alertness of 20/400 or even higher in some cases. Along with making sight more difficult, high myopia can also cause a number of other vision complications. While it can’t be prevented, this common complaint can be fixed. But what causes myopia and how is it treated?
What is Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball itself becomes elongated, which impacts the strength of the cornea and lens in terms of focusing strength. For individuals with myopia, the light rays hit a point of the eye in front of the retina instead of the surface of the retina. It’s a condition that usually begins in childhood and children with parents who are short-sighted are more at risk of it. By the age of 30, the myopia has usually stabilised for most people, meaning that their prescriptions stop changing and the myopia doesn’t get any worse. Myopia can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye test where the eye can be examined in detail, particularly the optic nerve and retina to check they are working as they should.
What Causes Myopia?
In most cases, myopia is hereditary so children with parents who are short-sighted will be more likely to develop high myopia as they grow older. But studies suggest that extended screen time through excessive use of tablets, smartphones and computers can also make us more susceptible to myopia. Researchers have also found that spending time outside can help to prevent myopia from developing. While there’s no concrete evidence as to why this is, it’s thought that the natural sunlight can deliver important cues for the development of the eyes.
What the studies discovered is that once myopia has begun to develop, there’s no way of halting its progression by spending more time outside. People with myopia can usually see far enough to look at a computer screen or read a book, but any further than that would become out of focus for them. It can often become apparent that someone is suffering with myopia when they begin struggling with eyestrain or headaches from trying to see things in the distance. Patients who have high myopia also complain of seeing wavy lines or spots in their field of vision.
Can It Be Treated?
High myopia rarely leads to vision loss, but it does increase the risk of other conditions. Blurred vision can lead to a number of complications, including problems with the retina. High myopia causes the retina’s centre, known as the macula, to thin with age which makes it more difficult to focus on objects and can even lead to vision loss if left untreated. This thinning can also lead to tears in the retina which leads to retinal detachment. When the retina detaches it is no longer supplied with the nutrients it needs, causing it to die which leads to a permanent loss of sight. Other problems caused by high myopia include an increased likelihood of cataracts and glaucoma developing.
For this reason, it’s recommended that those with short-sightedness get eye tests more regularly to pick up on any deterioration in vision or eye health more quickly. The easiest way to treat high myopia is through prescription glasses or contact lenses. But if you’re looking for an alternative solution, orthokeratology is an option. This involves wearing gas-permeable lenses overnight which have been specially fitted – these lenses then reshape the cornea overnight which makes vision much clearer throughout the day.
This is a much costlier treatment though, as the lenses have to be measured and fitted by a qualified optician. A more affordable option to treat high myopia is through standard daily contact lenses with a dioptre of -6.00 or above, depending on the severity of your vision problems. Your optician can advise the right lens for your needs with your required prescription to help treat your high myopia.