Myopia: Frequently asked questions
What is myopia?
Myopia is a refraction error whereby the images in the eye do not focus directly on the retina but in front of it, making the images coming from far-off objects appear blurred. The greater the degree of myopia, the harder it will be to see items in the distance.
We can divide myopia into:
- Simple myopia: normally lower than 6 dioptres. It doesn't normally lead to additional problems apart from needing to wear optical aids.
- Progressive myopia or high myopia, usually higher than 6 dioptres. It may be considered a condition and it is associated with a series of degenerative changes, above all in the retina, due to excessive elongation of the eye.
What causes myopia?
In myopia, there is an imbalance between the eye's optical system and its length. It may occur because the cornea or the crystalline lens have too much optical power or because the eye is too long, so the myopia increases when the eye increases its size with the growth. These changes can also be predetermined by genetic or hereditary factors among others.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of myopia is that far-off objects look blurred. On the other hand, those with myopia tend to have good vision for seeing up close and reading. Individuals with myopia usually squint to see far-off objects better. Other, less frequent symptoms are tired eyes and headache. However, the latter two are most frequent in hyperopia, the error opposite to myopia.
How is detected in children?
We should suspect that a child has myopia if they cannot see the board or television properly, when they have to get much closer to objects or when they squint to see far off items.
How is myopia fixed?
The most frequent way to fix myopia is to get glasses or contact lenses. Laser surgery for cases of low myopia or intraocular lens implants for cases of high myopia are effective methods of reducing your dependence on glasses or of not having to wear them once your myopia has stabilised.
What is pathological myopia?
It’s an extreme case of high myopia whereby significant degenerative changes happen to the eye structures, above all in the retina, due to excess elongation of the eye. These changes may lead to a gradual loss of vision even though the right visual aids are used. In addition, it increases the risk of other eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma or retinal detachment.