27 May, 2021
Myopia is one of the most frequent visual defects, it makes us unable to see distant objects clearly, while our near vision remains clear. At L’Atelier Óptica we receive many queries on this topic, so we have decided to answer some of the most frequent questions here.
What causes myopia?
Myopia has a genetic component, that is, when one of the parents is myopic, it is more likely for their children to be myopic. In these cases, it is especially important to pay attention to the first signs of myopia and take the children to regular visual check-ups.
However, there are other causes for developing myopia, such as spending many hours looking at screens, reading in poor lighting, and, one of the most important, lack of exposure to sunlight.
Are there different types of myopia?
There are numerous classifications of myopia based on different factors. The most important is the one that takes into account the amount of myopia. According to this we can differentiate between:
- Simple myopia: that of less than 6 diopters.
- Magna myopia or pathological myopia: when it exceeds 6 diopters.
The importance of this classification lies in that pathological myopias are associated with a higher incidence of certain conditions, such as retinal detachments or glaucoma, among other disorders. Therefore, these patients will have to go to reviews more frequently in order to be able to carry out prevention, as well as early detection of said alterations, which is essential in their prognosis.
Can myopia be prevented?
It is difficult to avoid developing myopia, especially when a genetic inheritance is involved. However, we can help by reducing the other factors:
- encouraging children to play outdoors.
- limiting the use of digital devices, such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.
- avoiding working for a long time at a short distance, and always remembering to include short pauses to look away every 20 minutes
- maintaining an adequate reading distance: a trick to measure it is to put your fist on your face and check that the book is not closer than the distance to your elbow
- using good ambient and workplace lighting, if it is natural light, even better!
In addition, once myopia appears, there are treatments that, although they do not eliminate or decrease it, can slow down its evolution, we will talk about them later.
How do I know if my child is nearsighted?
The best way to find out is through a complete eye exam. This is especially important at school age, since we can detect different eye disorders that could affect learning and school performance.
It is also important to be aware of certain signs, such as getting too close to the text to read it, winking or frowning when looking from afar, or symptoms such as headaches or eyestrain. If any of them appear, it is advisable to go to a specialist.
How is myopia treated?
Myopia cannot be eliminated or decreased. Therefore, its treatment will aim to compensate it and / or reduce its evolution.
Correcting myopia is about making the patient see well. We can achieve this through the use of glasses and / or contact lenses or through surgical techniques. It is important to note that, thanks to refractive surgery, we can get a good vision without the the help of glasses or contact lenses, but our eyes will continue to be myopic. Therefore, myopia intervened patients should continue to have their eye exams as frequently as before the surgery.
There are also treatments for the control of myopia that seek to stop its evolution, so that it does not reach such high levels, thus avoiding the possible complications associated with myopia magna. Currently, many techniques are being developed for this purpose, but the methods that have been scientifically proven to be effective in controlling myopia are:
- The instillation of atropine: since it is a drug, it can have certain side effects, so its use must be prescribed and controlled by an ophthalmologist.
- Orthokeratology or ortho-k: consists on the use of rigid contact lenses at night during sleep to flatten the cornea. In this way, it is possible to see well during the day without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. In addition, it has proven to be an effective treatment in the control of myopia.
- The use of specific soft contact lenses: currently, there are soft contact lens designs that have been shown to be as effective as ortho-k in controlling myopia. This is the option that we recommend the most since, if we choose single-use lenses, we would avoid most of the potential complications that may be associated with the other techniques.
However, it is essential to analyze each individual case to offer the best solution to each patient. Therefore, we recommend that you let your Optician-Optometrist advise you. At L’Atelier Óptica we will be happy to advise you and answer all your questions.
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