Myopia is not a disease, but a visual impairment- it is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but clearer when looking at things up close. Nearsighted patients see well up close, so they help themselves by pulling up the objects closer to the eyes. When looking into the distance under good lighting nearsighted patients squint, which reduces the scattering of light on the retina. The name “myopia” comes precisely from this behavior (myopia – in Greek means squint). People with mild myopia can see distant objects out of focus, however their near vision is not impaired.
Classification of myopia has been determined based on the causes:
- Axial myopia – increase in the eye’s axial length (the most common)
- Curvature myopia – increased curvature of the individual elements of the optical system of the eye (especially the cornea).
- Refractive myopia – attributed to conditions of the refractive elements of the eye
Mild – up to -3.0 diopters
Moderate – from – 3.0 to – 6.0 diopters
High – above – 6.0 diopters
Children and young adults are more often diagnosed with myopia. These factors may contribute to this fact:
- genetic background,
- environmental factors (many hours of close visual work)
- ethnic factors
- blurred vision
- difficulty seeing at night
- poor vision of distant objects
Common options for treatment are the use of glasses or contact lenses. However, other options for myopia include:
- Orthokeratology, also known as corneal refractive therapy. It is the re-shaping of the cornea using rigid gas-permeable contacts. These contacts rest on the surface of the eye and gently re-shape the cornea. Altering the curvature of the cornea restores proper vision in the eye. Best option for kids who cant
- Laser eye surgery – a surgical procedure where vision is corrected by removing a small part of the eye with a laser. Using a highly focused laser beam, a specialist cuts away a bit of the eye tissue, flattening the cornea and correcting the focus.
In exceptionally critical natures of myopia, advanced surgeries may be unavoidable. In extreme cases, refractive procedures can correct a patient’s vision.
- Phakic intraocular lenses – in this procedure, thin lenses are implanted into the eye, eliminating the need for contacts of glasses. They are inserted right in front of the natural lens and help the eye focus light onto the retina, which allows the images seen to be clear and crisp.
- Intraocular lens transplant with clear lens extraction – during this surgery the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an implant. The natural lens is completely removed and a synthetic one is put into its place.