Eyesight problems plague millions of people around the world. Myopia, the formal name for short-sightedness, is a condition where light is not focus properly through the lens. This results in making objects that are far away appear blurry while objects that are near the face appear normal and clear. Thus, this disease is also called nearsightedness.
Myopia comes in a variety of forms classified by age of onset as well as severity of disease. On the spectrum of age, the following types are recognized:
- Congenital myopia is present at birth due to genetic defects
- Youth-onset, also called childhood myopia, tends to appear in school-age children.
- Adult-onset disease will afflict people aged 20 and over.
In addition to age of onset, we can classify myopia based on severity. Low, medium, and high myopia are recognized. Each is broken down by how strong a corrective lens needs to be to clarify vision. High myopia is the most severe and can increase the risk of retinal detachment and glaucoma. Retinal detachment is a serious condition in which the retinal tissue dislodges from its support. If not addressed immediately, it can lead to blindness.
A number of variants of the disease are recognized in the clinic, as well. Degenerative myopia is one of the few progressive forms, meaning it will worsen over time. Nocturnal myopia is a condition where the blurriness experienced with far vision is worsened under low-light conditions. Induced myopia is a condition whereby a healthy person acquires the disease. This can be the result of hyperglycemia or of side effects related to pharmaceutical agents.
Numerous methods now exist for myopia control. No method exists for the prevention of the disease, but treatment is relatively straightforward. Traditionally, eyeglasses that act as a corrective lens have been in common use for centuries. Modern short-sightedness treatments include contact lenses which sit directly on the eyeball and help to refract light. Another treatment for myopia that has gained popularity in recent years is refractive surgery. This procedure is commonly performed using lasers to remodel the cornea and optimize its light-bending abilities. If myopia is too severe for this type of surgery, there is a new procedure becoming more available. This procedure involves implanting a small lens inside the eye in order to treat a variety of disorders including myopia. These treatment options tend to be very safe and have a strong track record of visual improvement.