What is Myopia?

If you find that your vision is blurry when trying to focus on things at a distance, there is a chance that you might have Myopia.

Myopia is a medical term used to describe shortsightedness, also referred to as nearsightedness. People with Myopia find that objects or people at a distance look a bit blurry, but as soon as they get closer, they appear clearer.


Symptoms of Myopia

Myopia usually begins to show itself in childhood, with the degree of vision impairment stabilizing by early adulthood, although some symptoms can occur later in life.

Common myopia symptoms include:

  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Clear sight up-close, with blurry vision further away

Myopia Globally

By 2020, it is expected that more than 2 billion people will be myopic. This will continue to increase over the next 30 years. By 2050, nearly 50% of the world could be myopic.

Every region in the world will see an increase in their myopic population. 66% of urban Asia Pacific could be myopic by 2050.

Persons may develop high myopia as well. High myopia is described as shortsightedness of -5.00 diopters or higher. In 2020, it is expected that 300 million people will have high myopia. Projections estimate that high myopia will afflict approximately 1 billion people in 2050. Persons with high myopia have a higher risk of developing eye pathology, such as myopic macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataract and glaucoma.

Find out more about Myopia

Causes of Myopia

In a shortsighted eye, the eyeball is stretched horizontally, creating a longer distance between the cornea and the retina (the “front” and the “back” of the eye) and causing the cornea to assume a different shape. This causes the blurriness in vision when trying to focus on objects too far away.

Effects of Uncorrected Myopia

Being shortsighted can make it difficult to function effectively because of your impaired vision. It can also be uncomfortable for many people, who suffer from eyestrain and headaches as a direct side effect of myopia.

Neglecting Myopia in children may potentially affect their growth, their learning and their future.

Detecting Myopia in Children and Adults

Most children may not even realise or complain of myopia, and parents needs to notice their children's behaviour.

Complaints of headaches, inability to focus and difficulty seeing in the classroom are all signs of shortsightedness in children. If manifested in infancy, parents should look for signs such as squinting, rubbing of the eyes, and headaches.

Myopia usually shows between the ages of 8 and 12.In adults, the deterioration of vision might also have hidden causes such as diabetes or cataracts.

How to Correct Myopia

Prescription glasses, contact lenses and eye surgery are effective measures for correcting myopia. Regular eye check-ups with an optometrist will help monitor myopic cases and ensure optimal eye health.

Links have also been made between spending time outdoors, especially in the sun, to have a positive effect on eyesight. Parents are also advised to limit the time children spend in front of computers or on digital devices like mobile phones and tablets as overuse can cause eyestrain.

Recommended Review Schedule

Parents should have their child’s eyes checked at regular intervals to test for myopia. A follow up visit every 6 months is recommended.

Early treatment of myopia in children may lead to a control of the condition early on in life, so the eyesight doesn’t worsen. Therefore, you should conduct checks on your child’s eyes regularly.

Myopia in children can escalate quickly as their bodies and eyes grow. The growth of the eye might stretch the cornea and retina faster. However, children with myopia usually achieve steady vision in their teens.


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