What is myopia?
Short-sightedness, or myopia as it is known medically, is a refractive error of the eye that can be easily corrected. In short-sightedness, the vision is blurred for objects in the distance. It usually occurs when the eyeball is longer than required for the curvature (power) of the cornea or more generally when there is a mismatch between the refractive power and the length of your eye. This results in light rays coming to focus in front of the retina; for normal crisp vision the light rays need to focus on the retina.
Short-sightedness is one of the most common reasons for wearing spectacles or contact lenses in the UK and worldwide. It is more common in South East Asia and becoming commoner in Europe and North America. The condition usually develops in childhood or teenage years and even low levels of short-sightedness can blur your distance vision significantly. The blurred vision is commonly noticed at school when the whiteboard cannot be seen clearly or when one eye is accidentally covered.
What symptoms does myopia cause?
Blurred distance vision but good preservation of intermediate and near vision
Headache after prolonged activities that require visual attention; this is often caused by partially closing the eyelids, as this tends to improve the vision
Increased difficulty with night vison, as at night-time we naturally become more myopic
These symptoms sound familiar? Contact Us for a free screening for laser eye surgery.
Why does myopia develop?
There is no definitive cause, but several studies have identified associations and risk factors for developing the condition. Short-sightedness (myopia) has been linked with a family history of the condition, particularly when parents and siblings are affected. Studies with twins have also indicated a strong predisposing genetic element.
Education levels have also been linked with the likelihood of developing myopia, with the condition being more common in university graduates than non graduates. Increased use of computers and less outdoor play are also consistent associations. It is thought that the common underlying risk factor may be high levels of near work, such as reading, academic work and computer use. It has been postulated that the accommodating effort of the lens (focusing) required for near activities may stimulate the eyeball to become longer.
How can short-sightedness be treated?
There are a few options for the treatment of short-sightedness:
Spectacles are the most common method for correction of short-sightedness and other refractive errors of the eye. Disadvantages include distortion of your peripheral vision, especially for higher prescriptions, and inconveniences, such as getting wet in the rain, fogging when walking indoors, inability to wear sunglasses and the requirement for separate readers, to mention a few.
Contact lenses are also commonly used for short-sightedness. They are a good option as they overcome the above limitations of glasses. They do have their own limitations though, as they reduce oxygen delivery to the eye. As a result they can cause dry eye and with prolonged use can lead to contact lens intolerance and sight-threatening infection.
Laser eye surgery provides a permanent treatment to short-sightedness by altering the shape and refractive power of the cornea, so that light rays come into focus on the retina of the eye. We offer a range of laser eye procedures, allowing us to recommend the best treatment for your eyes and needs; this includes LASIK, SMILE, LASEK/Advanced Surface Ablation and PRESBYOND, the laser procedure that can also eliminate the need for reading glasses.
An Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is like a permanent plastic contact lens that is implanted in your eye. It is a safe alternative to laser eye surgery, usually chosen for higher prescriptions when laser surgery may not be the best option.
Laser and ICL surgery can dramatically improve your quality of life – if you're interested in finding out more call
or Contact Us for a free screening for laser eye surgery.