Myopia: Why cases are increasing and causes

Amy McCready Kim

Also referred to as nearsightedness or shortsightedness, myopia is one of the most common eye disorders globally in both adults and children. The refractive error allows patients only to see close objects while distant objects appear out of focus and blurry.

This error in focus occurs because of the shape of the eye. As the eye grows, the eyeball’s surface may become curved or elongated. As such, instead of light rays focusing on the retina’s surface, it focuses on an area in front of the retina.

Cases of Myopia are on the rise in the United States. Research by the American Optometric Association indicated that more than 38% of people are myopic, and the number is surging, particularly among school children. The condition can develop rapidly or gradually, normally worsening during adolescence and childhood. Also, Myopia tends to run in families mostly.


· Blurry or difficulty seeing distant objects

· The need to partially close eyes or squint to see well

· Headaches as a result of eyestrain

· Problems seeing while driving, particularly at night

Types of Myopia

High Myopia: This is a serious condition where eyeballs grow more than they should and become long. Besides Myopia, it can increase your chances of getting diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and detached retina.

Degenerative: It is also known as malignant or pathological Myopia; it is a rare version normally inherited from parents. The eyeballs get longer rapidly and cause severe Myopia by an early adult or teenage years. It usually gets worse in adulthood, and apart from making it difficult to see distant things, it increases the risks of getting glaucoma, detached retina, and abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye.

Can Myopia be Cured?

As of 2021, there is no permanent cure for nearsightedness. Nonetheless, there are some management techniques and treatments that can help regain distant vision.

Diagnosis and treatment

A simple eye exam can easily show if an individual is myopic or not. That said, people with the condition have multiple options to restore distant vision;

Eyeglasses: Eyeglasses are the main option for correction for people with Myopia. Depending on the type of Myopia, it may only be necessary for you to wear glasses for specific activities like driving or watching. In most cases, a single vision lens is usually enough to give a clear vision even from a distance. Nonetheless, for people who are over 40 or kids whose Myopia is as a result of near vision stress, a progressive or bifocal lens addition may do the job.

Contact lenses: Contact lenses are ideal for some people as they offer a wider field of view and a clearer vision than normal eyeglasses. Nonetheless, because they are working on the eye directly, they require proper care and evaluation to safeguard your eye health.

CRT or Ortho-k: This is another viable option for myopia patients. Here you wear various specially crafted contact lenses to slowly reshape the shape of your cornea. The lenses put pressure on your cornea and force it to flatten and change how light entering your eyes is focused. It is effective for people with mild Myopia.

Laser procedures; Different laser procedures like photorefractive keratectomy( PRK) or laser in situ keratomileuses (LASIK) are possible management options for nearsightedness in adults. A laser light reshapes the curvature of the cornea by getting rid of some areas of corneal tissue and then allowed to heal.

Vision therapy: This works for patients whose Myopia is a result of spasm of muscles that control eye focus. Different eye exercises controlled by a qualified medic can help enhance poor eye focusing and restore distance vision.

As you can see, there are many options for people with Myopia and other vision problems. An optometrist can help you choose the right treatment that meets your visual and lifestyle needs.

When to see a doctor

If you have problems seeing distant things clearly to the extent that you cannot perform certain tasks well, see a doctor. They will determine your condition and advise you accordingly on the options you have to correct your Myopia.

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Hi, I’m Amy , a mom to three learning alongside you as we build connected, resilient families.

Raleigh, NC

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