Be Clear on Myopia

Also known as short-sightedness, myopia is a common eye condition that causes distant objects to appear blurred

A condition caused by the elongation of the eyes, myopia ranges from mild—where no treatment is required—to severe, where a person’s ability to see is severely affected. Short-sightedness means light doesn’t focus properly on the retina, instead focusing just in front of the light-sensitive issue. The condition usually starts around puberty, but it can also develop in young children. Some signs that you may be myopic include needing to sit close to the TV, complaining of headaches or tired eyes and regularly rubbing the eye area.

Treatment options

Myopia can be corrected with a variety of treatments. The most common are:

Corrective lenses. Depending on preferences, individuals may choose eyeglasses or contact lenses to aid the eyes in focusing on distant objects.

Laser eye surgery. A straightforward procedure with relatively little recovery time, laser eye surgery alters the shape of the eye. A laser is used to burn away small sections of the cornea, correcting the curvature.

Artificial lens implants. A permanent man-made lens is inserted into the eyes to help them focus.

Associated conditions

Although it is not a life-threatening condition, myopia—if severe and untreated—can cause a series of other eye conditions. These include a squint, a common condition where the eyes point in different directions; lazy eye, where the vision in one eye doesn’t fully develop; glaucoma, increased pressure in the eyes; cataracts, cloudy patches that develop inside the lens of the eyes; and retinal detachment, when the retina detaches from the blood vessels that supply it with nutrients and oxygen.

Did you know?

Myopia is thought to affect at least 1 in 3 people in the UK and is becoming more common

This article was originally published in Live to 100 with Dr Hilary Jones. Read the digital edition, here. 

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