Nearsightedness (Myopia): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

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Nearsightedness (Myopia): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Myopia, also known as near-sightedness and short-sightedness, is a condition of the eye where light focuses in front of, instead of on, the retina. This condition results in distant objects to be blurry while close objects appear normal.

Nearsightednessis a type of refractive error. There is a preliminary evidence that the risk of near-sightedness can be decreased by having young children spend more time outside; may be related to natural light exposure.

Myopia is the most common eye problem and is estimated to affect 1.5 billion people (22% of the population). Rates among adults are between 15 and 49% and are similar in males and females. More than 10 million cases are reported per year in India. If not treated, myopia is one of the most common causes of vision impairment globally along with cataracts, macular degeneration, and vitamin A deficiency.

How does Myopia affect your body?

Nearsightedness is caused by the size and shape of the eye. These factors change how light is reflected onto the back of the eye making distant images appear blurry. Specifically, in nearsightedness, the lens and cornea reflect light in front of the retina, rather than on the retina directly.

What are the causes of Myopia?

  • Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on the retina’s surface.
  • Nearsightedness can also be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, this condition is due to a combination of these factors.
  • Myopia typically begins in childhood and if your parents are nearsighted, chance of you having myopia increases.
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What are the risk factors of Myopia?

  • Genetics-Myopia tends to run in families. If one of the parents is nearsighted, the risk of developing the condition is increased.
  • Reading and close-up work-Reading, writing or doing computer work for longer hours, may increase the risk of myopia. Even holding a reading material too close is associated with increased myopia.
  • Environmental conditions– Lack of time spent outdoors may also increase the chances of developing myopia.
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What are the symptoms of Myopia?

  • Blurry vision when looking at far objects.
  • Squinting or partially closing the eyelids just to see clearly.
  • Headaches due to eyestrain.
  • Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle at night (night myopia).
  • Rubbing your eyes frequently.
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How is Myopia diagnosed?

Myopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam, which includes a refraction assessment and an eye health exam.

A refraction assessment exam determines if you have vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. It is tested using various instruments and looking through several lenses to test for distance and close-up vision.

For eye health exam, drops are put in your eyes to dilate pupils. This may make your eyes more light sensitive for a few hours after the exam enabling the doctor to see wider views inside of your eyes.

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How to prevent & control Myopia?

  • Detecting myopia early in life can also help further progression of it.
  • Children should be exposed to day light, for at least 2 hours every day.
  • Use bifocal lenses (spectacles or contact lenses). This may yield a slowing of myopia by limiting eye accommodation.
  • Myopia can be reduced by administering atropine eye drops as indicated.
  • Use of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses, worn during sleep at night can temporarily correct nearsightedness.

Treatment of Myopia- Allopathic Treatment

Prescription lenses– Wearing corrective lenses treats myopia by counteracting the increased curvature of cornea or the increased length of the eye. Types of prescription lenses include eye glasses and contact lenses.

Surgeries for treating myopia includes:

  • Refractive surgery– This surgery reduces the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses. A laser beam is used to reshape the cornea, which results in a decreased nearsighted prescription.
  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) –LASIK surgery is doneto make a thin, hinged flap into the cornea. Then a laser is used to remove inner layers of the cornea to flatten its domed shape.
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) – in this surgery an ultra-thin flap is created only in the cornea’s outer protective cover (epithelium). Then a laser is used to reshape the cornea’s outer layers, flattening its curve, and then replacing the epithelium.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) – This procedure is similar to LASEK, except that the epithelium is completely removed. Later a laser is used to reshape the cornea. The epithelium will grow back naturally, conforming to your cornea’s new shape.

The only medication used is tropical atropine. This is commonly for dilating the pupil of the eye, often as part of eye exams or before and after eye surgery. Low-dose (0.01%) atropine may also help slow the progression of myopia.

Treatment of Myopia- Homeopathic Treatment

  • Pysostigma-It is prescribed for nearsightedness which is progressing rapidly, accompanied by pain in the orbits.
  • Ruta– It is effective for myopia with severe headache which occurs while reading, sewing and performing other near-sighted activities.
  • Viola Odorata– It is for myopia accompanied by severe pain in the eyes.
  • Oleum Animale– It is for myopia where the symptoms include blurred vision and twitching of the eyelids.
  • Liliumtigrinum– It is for myopic astigma with impaired vision, pain extending back.
  • Phosphorus-It is for fatigue of the eyes and head, even when the eyes are not being overused.
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Myopia- Lifestyle Tips

  • Regular eye-checkup is necessary.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure should be controlled. These can affect your vision if you don’t receive proper treatment.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  • Wear protective eyewear when playing sports, mowing the lawn, painting or using other products with toxic fumes.
  • Eat healthy foods including leafy greens, other vegetables, fruits and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna and salmon.
  • Don’t smoke because smoking can adversely affect your eye health as well.
  • Use the right corrective lenses to optimize your vision. Wearing a prescription that is too weak can increase the development of nearsightedness.
  • Reduce eyestrain and use good lighting. Look away from computer or near-task work, every 20 minutesfor 20 seconds at something 20 feet away.

What are recommended exercise for person with Myopia?

No specific exercise is recommended for myopic patients.

Myopia & pregnancy- Things to know

  • Pregnancy can bring about a loss of visual acuity because of hormones.
  • Hormones during pregnancy cause more fluid retention than usual, resulting in an increase in the thickness and curvature of the cornea and lens, which results in an increase in myopia in pregnant women.
  • This occurs in the first term of pregnancy and disappears between 6 and 8 weeks after giving birth.

Common complications related to Myopia

  • Reduced quality of life because limited vision may detract from your enjoyment of day-to-day activities.
  • Uncorrected nearsightedness may strain in eyes to maintain focus leading to eyestrain and headaches.
  • Impaired safety, especially if you are driving a car or operating heavy equipment.
  • Severe nearsightedness puts a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and myopic maculopathy which causes damage in the central retinal area.

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