Do you struggle to see objects in the distance but have no problem reading a book up close? If so, you might have myopia. An individual who has myopia, often known as nearsightedness, has difficulty seeing distant objects. Myopia usually develops in childhood, worsens as children approach their teen years, and potentially stabilizes in the first few years of adulthood. Myopia, however, can get worse for some people. According to eye professionals, myopia or nearsightedness that develops suddenly in adulthood might be a sign of serious eye disorders.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia develops when the structure of your eye is abnormal. The light entering the eye does not concentrate properly if the cornea is too sharply curved or if the eyeball is too long. When you have myopia, images focus directly on your retina instead of where they are supposed to—on your retina.
The exact causes of myopia are unknown, although environmental or genetic factors are thought to contribute to the progression of the condition. 30% of Canadians are myopic, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
Progression of Myopia:
The rate at which nearsightedness progresses differs from person to person. Some people will progress slowly, while others will progress quickly. Your eyes are fully developed by the time you are around 20 years old. Myopia will not change much until you reach the age of 40. Some people chose to have LASIK surgery as opposed to receiving new corrective lenses on a regular basis.
Can Myopia Lead to Blindness?
Myopia is typically a small nuisance that can be treated with glasses, contacts, or surgery. However, degenerative myopia, a progressive kind that can be quite dangerous and is a major contributor to legal blindness, can rarely occur. Only approximately 2% of people have degenerative myopia.
Does Myopia Get Worse with Age?
Yes, it can. Myopia can worsen, especially during the rapid developmental spurts of the pre-teen and teen years. Usually, myopia is discovered between the ages of 8 and 12. Around age 20, when our eyes stop developing, changes in prescription often slow down. Many people won’t begin to experience myopia as they reach their late 20s, but those diagnosed as children typically have it their entire lives. Adults with myopia might also be diagnosed. When this occurs, it’s typically the result of eye strain or a condition like diabetes or cataracts.
Myopia rarely gets worse after the early 20s. Though there are a few exceptions. This might happen as a result of the eye’s continuous elongation, visual stress from close work, or other environmental conditions. Spending too much time on close-up activities, including reading or using a computer, might result in visual discomfort. According to eye experts, overusing your focusing muscles in this manner could cause them to become “stuck in near gear.”
How Can You Prevent Myopia From Getting Worse?
There are everyday actions you can take to maintain your general eye health. Setting boundaries for your kids (and yourself) on activities that strain your eyes is especially important in today’s world. Try these eye-saving tips:
- Limit your use of digital devices.
- Stretch your eye muscles by taking breaks from the screen.
- Avoid working or reading in low light.
- Encourage outdoor activity.
- Wear sunglasses outside.
- For sports or hobbies, put on safety goggles.
- Give up smoking.
- Plan routine eye checkups.
To slow progression, ask your provider about atropine eye drops. Ask your provider about dual-focus contact lenses to slow progression in kids.
Remember, don’t let your or your child’s eyes get stuck in “near gear” from spending too much time on computers or smartphones. Get outside. Make going to the park a regular family outing. Walk the dog. Get out there and have fun. To learn more about myopia control in Hamilton or to schedule an appointment with our myopia management team in Hamilton, visit I See Eyecare Optometry.