Understanding Myopia

VISION MATTERS

WHY should we be concerned about myopia? Myopia (nearsightedness or shortsightedness) refers to the blurring of vision at far. This is not just any ordinary refractive error. Without proper management, anyone with myopia (-5.00 and below) or high myopia (-5.00 and above) can have sight-threatening conditions such as Glaucoma, Cataract, Retinal Detachment and Myopic Maculopathy. These are very serious visual conditions that anyone should be concerned about. We are now in the digital world, most of the children now have access to it. They spend at least two hours or more and even children who also love to read are not excused from manifesting myopia. In short, less outdoor activities for them.

By performing a comprehensive eye exam (CEE) that includes proper case history taking, getting the visual acuity (letting patient read at 6 meters and 16 inches), binocular vision testing (how our two eyes work together), cycloplegic refraction (instilling eye drops that dilates the pupils), Ophthalmoscopy (checking how healthy the fundus is), checking the intraocular pressures, getting their axial lengths (how long our eyeballs are) and other relevant tests, we will be able to know how to manage myopia. According to the International Myopia Institute, early intervention and detection in children with myopia is the key to reducing the impact of myopia on their long term ocular health and improving their future lives. Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology said by spending time outdoors of 60- 90 minutes per day appears to have a protective effect against myopia onset and progression. Visit your Optometrist and learn more about Myopia.

Aristotle (384- 322 B.C.) is credited with first distinguishing myopia. Galen (Circa 131-201 A.D.) coined the term myopia from myein (to close) and ops (eye), as he observed that the individual closed the eye (squinted) to see. Professor Brien Holden of the Brien Holden Vision Institute recognized the need to address the issues surrounding myopia, such as the growing prevalence of myopia around the world, the risks to vision and how optometrists should best manage myopia based on the latest evidence while further advancing myopia research.

Myopia can be due to genetics, environmental – near related activities such as long hours of reading or digital use or it could also be pathologic. It can occur in schoolage children and it increases as they grow because their eyeballs are still growing. Myopia can also develop at a later age because of cataract and other health conditions such as diabetes. According to the latest research, there are effective ways to manage myopia so eye grade will slow down rather than increasing drastically yearly at an alarming rate. Myopia is best controlled by using contact lenses. Though some parents are apprehensive about it because the idea of putting something in their child’s eyes is just

unacceptable to them. But understanding the relevance and the entire process will make them realize the good outcome that is brought with this kind of management. But giving corrective eyeglasses is already a big help for them to see clearly and function well.

We should be concerned about the possible sight-threatening conditions that Myopia will bring. Take good care of your eyes, as we have only one pair. Let’s not take our vision for granted. Have your child’s eyes checked because myopia is a future epidemic.