Healthy Vision Myopia Awareness
Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is one of the most overlooked health conditions that is estimated to affect almost 50% of the world’s population by 2051. It is a grave concern yet not many stones are being turned to raise awareness regarding it. With our current lifestyle of using computers, laptops, and smartphones throughout the day, myopia can become a common condition affecting almost 80% of the world’s population in the future. Therefore, it becomes imperative for healthcare and social welfare organizations to act promptly and effectively in addressing the said threat and creating mass level awareness.
Lion Eye Group’s Myopia Awareness Week
Keeping in line with our mission of spreading awareness regarding vision, Lion Eye Group is organizing the Myopia Awareness Week, during which we will be sharing an expert opinion, statistics, and actionable insights on what myopia is, how it affects you and how to combat it. Here’s an overview of myopia, its symptoms, and causes, and statistics address the growing concern:
Understanding Myopia & Its Symptoms
In its entirety, myopia is a condition that makes far-away objects appear blurred. It happens due to the eyeball’s excessive growth from the front to back. Myopia could also occur if the person suffers from problems with the shape of the cornea or lens. The cornea is the front layer of the eye and the lens is the inner area that assists your eye in focusing on objects. Problems with the cornea or retina will create trouble in focusing due to the irregularities of your eye to process light.
In most cases, myopia is said to occur between the ages of 6 and 16. Of course, one of the major causes of myopia is too much screen time. It has been observed that children who spent more time outdoors have lesser chances of developing myopia.
Moreover, if myopia gets into its severe stages, it can give way to other major eye conditions such as retinal detachment and the like.
Important Myopia Statistics You Need to Know
- It is estimated that myopia affects around 1.5 billion people around the world, making it the leading eye-related condition in the world. Almost 30% of the world population is affected by myopia yearly.
- Myopia is also the foremost cause of distance refractive error in the world, affecting almost 26% of the world’s population.
- The number of myopia patients around the world is expected to rise with the percentages reaching approximately 80% in some regions of the world, mainly Asia.
- Currently, myopia cases in China exceed the numbers of those in other countries. The percentages are somewhere between 70% and 80% of teenagers suffering from myopia.
- Evidence suggests that high myopia cases are growing at an exponential rate worldwide, creating a way for vision impairment.
Types of Myopia: Pathologic, School-Age & Adult Onset
Pathologic myopia is caused by elongation of the axial length of the eye. If it doesn’t change before 6 years old and the elongation is abnormal or extreme, it results in myopia.
School-Age Myopia usually occurs between the ages of 6 and 18 with stabilization of the axial length expected by the twenties. Some causes could include spending excessive time on reading and less exposure to sunlight.
Adults in occupations where vision becomes the primary tool of operation experience the adult-onset of myopia. The eye tends to adjust to excessive use and hence results in axial length abnormalities.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia develops when the eyeball becomes abnormally long and affects the focusing power of the cornea and the lens. When this happens, light rays start focusing at a point in front of the retina instead of the surface. Also, myopia can occur due to the cornea or the lens is abnormally curved for the eyeball’s length. Lastly, in some rare cases, myopia can occur due to a combination of these issues and it can lead to high myopia.
It should be noted that myopia usually starts occurring during childhood. Children with parents affected with myopia are at a higher risk of developing it. Remember that in most cases myopia tends to adjust during early childhood. However, if it prolongs the too early twenties, it can become a lifelong condition that requires medical attention.
Detecting the Symptoms of Myopia
People will myopia usually experience difficulty in reading distant texts such as road signs or focusing on distant objects. However, short-distant texts and objects will appear normal such as reading books or using your smartphone. Besides, other severe symptoms could include headaches, light sensitivity, eye strain, squinting, and experiencing fatigue while involved in physical activities such as sports, bike riding, etc.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Usually, glasses or contact lenses are prescribed until the condition becomes better.
How is Myopia Treated?
While myopia is not completely curable, it can be either prevented or reduced in intensity. The following are the methods used to prevent or treat myopia and its symptoms:
Eyeglasses & Lenses: During the early stages of myopia, your optometrists will prescribe you to wear eyeglasses or lenses all the time until the condition becomes better. Besides, you will need to ensure to always have your eyeglasses on when involved in an activity where long-distance focusing is important such as driving watching a movie, focusing on the screen during a seminar, etc. High-index lenses and anti-reflective coating eyeglasses and eye lenses are considered to the best to wear. For people suffering from nearsightedness, the number of your prescription will be in minus. The higher the number goes, the more your condition is severe. Other advanced options include dual-focus daily disposable contact lenses multifocal lenses to reduce the progression.
Refractive Surgery: With these surgeries, the need for eyeglasses or lenses may be reduced. There are two types of surgeries that an optometrist can opt for PRK & LASIK. PRK involves the removal of a layer of corneal tissues that suppress light. By doing this, the cornea can focus better on distant objects. In LASIK, a layer is developed on the surface of the cornea and corneal tissues are removed with a laser. Both surgeries are usually considered to be completely safe and good options to combat myopia from growing.
Pharmaceutical: Several studies have been done on the different drugs being used for myopia among which low-dose atropine is considered to be ideal to slow down the progression of myopia in children.
Become Part of Our Awareness Program
At LION Eye Group, we believe in spreading awareness within communities to help them better understand conditions that are otherwise paid little heed to. Become part of our Myopia Awareness Week and share our awareness through social media platforms and other online communities so that the message reaches as many possible.