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Refractive Conditions

Myopia

Myopia, commonly called short-sightedness, is a condition in which light is focused in front of the retina, resulting in blurred vision. This is the result of the eye being too long, or the focussing power of the eye being too strong. Short-sighted people can often see reasonably clearly at short distances, but will not objects far away.

At our Adelaide and Woodville practices, our optometrists offer myopia control treatments to prevent the progression of myopia. If you are interested in knowing more, please contact our staff or book an appointment.

How can I tell if I am myopic?

The most common symptom of myopia is blurry distance vision. Myopic people find it hard to read road signs or scoreboards, and recognising people in the distance may also be a problem. Often a person will not realise that they cannot see clearly until they have an eye examination.

If you are worried that your child may be myopic, some signs that they may be having trouble with distance vision include squinting to see in the distance, difficulty reading the whiteboard at school, sitting close to screens and holding objects like books close to the face. It’s important to have your child’s eyes tested if you suspect they are short-sighted so they can be considered for myopia control.

A view typical of someone with myopia

What causes myopia?

Myopia is a very common condition. Currently, 30% of the population is shortsighted and by 2050, it is predicted that half of all people on the planet will be myopic.1 Usually myopia begins to develop in early teenage years and it commonly gets progressively worse over the following few years.

The exact causes and mechanisms of myopia are not known. Recent research has shown that the development of myopia is influenced by both genetic factors (like other family members having myopia) and environmental factors (like increased screen time, decreased time outside and problems coordinating both eyes).2

What can I do about myopia?

Properly prescribed spectacles or contact lenses, including orthokeratology lenses, will enable a person with myopia to see clearly. These are reversible and can be stopped at any time if needed. Laser surgery can also reshape the front surface of the eye for clear distance vision, although this is permanent.

While myopia cannot be reversed in adults, it can be controlled in young people with myopia control strategies. This is important because as the eye grows longer and the level of short-sightedness increases, the tissues at the back of the eye become stretched and damaged, which can to blinding eye diseases like retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataract.3,4,5

To find out more about myopia control, click here.

References
  1. World Health Organisation & Brien Holden Vision Institute. (2016). “The Impact of Myopia and High Myopia.” Report of the Joint World Health Organisation-Brien Holden Vision Institute Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia.
  2. Gifford, K. et al. (2019). “IMI - Clinical Management Guidelines Report”. InvestOphthalVis Sci. 60(3)
  3. Flitcroft, D. I. (2012). “The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology.” Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 31(6): 622-660.
  4. Cooper, J., Tkatchenko, A. V., (2018). “A Review of Current Concepts of the Etiology and Treatment of Myopia.” Eye Contact Lens. 44(4). 231-247.
  5. Willhem, J. L., et al. (2016). “Association of Axial Length With Risk of Uncorrectable Visual Impairment for Europeans With Myopia.” JAMA Ophthalmol. 134(12):1355-1363.