Your Hopewell Lambertville Eye Doctors Explain
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, occurs when the shape of the eye becomes elongated from front to back. Because of this shape, the lens of the eye focuses images in front of the retina – instead of on the retina. The end result is crisp near vision but weak and blurry distance vision. For example, if you have myopia, you may be able to read a computer screen or a book but you will have trouble seeing road signs and objects farther away. When myopia remains undiagnosed, people often suffer from eyestrain and headaches.
Keep in mind that myopia is an eye focusing disorder and not an eye disease, and it is relatively common. Statistics estimate that about 42 percent of Americans between ages 12-54 are nearsighted. Our eye doctors in Hopewell and Lambertville, NJ, will test your visual acuity to determine if you have myopia. If you require vision correction, we will issue a precise vision prescription and review the treatment options with you, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery.
Why does myopia happen?
Scientists do not fully understand the causes that lead to the eyeball growing too long. There are many genetic risk factors, as well as environmental causes – such as not enough time spent outdoors and greater quantities of time spent focusing on near work (reading, writing, computer use). Nearsightedness typically develops between ages 6 to 14, and research studies have shown that children who spend more time outside have a reduced chance of myopia. Some eye health researchers theorize that this is because natural sunlight helps with eye development, while others assert that normal eye development depends upon spending enough time gazing off into the distance.
Is high myopia a problem?
Generally, high myopia is defined as needing -6.0 diopters or more of lens correction. Diopters refer to lens power. High myopia is regarded as a medical risk because it raises the chances of retinal detachment. When a retina detaches, it pulls away from the underlying tissue (choroid), which supplies the retina with oxygen and nutrients. High myopia also poses an increased risk of glaucoma and cataracts, both of which are serious eye diseases that can lead to vision loss.
What are the symptoms of myopia?
The most common symptoms of myopia include headaches, squinting to see clearly, eyestrain, and trouble seeing objects in the distance – including the classroom board.
How is myopia diagnosed?
When you visit our Hopewell and Lambertville eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, we will perform detailed visual acuity testing and a thorough inspection of your eye. If you have nearsightedness, we will recognize the signs in order to diagnose this refractive error. Our optometrist will use various tools, such as a phoropter and retinoscopy, to help figure out your precise vision prescription.
How do you correct nearsightedness?
1. Prescription Eyewear
Eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common way to treat myopia. Both of these types of eyewear refocus light onto the retina and compensate for the shape of your eye. Our optometrists will explain the pros and cons of each option in order to help you make a decision about whether glasses or contacts are right for your needs.
2. Refractive Surgery
Once a child is past adolescence and the eye’s optic error has stabilized (typically by the early 20s), refractive surgery is another option for correcting myopia. LASIK and PRK are the most popular versions of refractive surgery, both of which reshape the cornea to focus light better on the retina.
3. Orthokeratology/ Ortho-k Lenses
Ortho-k lenses are rigid gas permeable contacts that you wear while sleeping to gradually flatten the cornea and diminish refractive error. In the morning, you remove the ortho-k lenses and the effects remain – leaving you with clear vision during the daytime. This form of myopia correction is temporary though, so you need to wear the ortho-k lenses nightly or your cornea will return to its original myopic shape.
There is no singular method for correcting myopia that is regarded as “best.” You will need to discuss the available treatments with your eye doctor to decide which one satisfies your lifestyle, eye health, and visual needs most effectively.
What is myopia control?
Myopia control is a hot, contemporary topic amongst eye care specialists. Currently, there are no foolproof therapies to halt the progression of myopia completely, but a few types of treatment seem to slow it down.
- Ortho-k lenses have demonstrated effectiveness at decelerating the rate of growth of children’s eyes, thereby decreasing the elongation process of their eyeballs. Not only does this reduce existing myopia, it also slows the progression rate of nearsightedness by about 50%.
- Multifocal contact lenses are currently under investigation for use in myopia control. One scientific study showed a significant drop in the severity of nearsightedness and eye elongation in kids between the ages of 11 to 14, after they wore multifocal contact lenses for 10 months. Research is ongoing to determine the ideal lens power that needs to be worn.
- Atropine eye drops are being studied for their effectiveness at retarding growth of the eye. Although results are promising, atropine eye drops have also been associated with many undesirable side effects. Patients suffer from pupil dilation, seeing glare, and a loss of focusing ability. At present, this topical pharmaceutical agent are not yet FDA-approved for use as myopia control.
- Outdoor playtime has been linked strongly with slowing down the speed of myopia progression in children.
Regular eye exams are essential for identifying changes in vision. When you visit our Hopewell and Lambertville, NJ, eye care center, we will evaluate your vision and eye health thoroughly to check for myopia and other vision conditions. If you are diagnosed with nearsightedness, we offer an outstanding array of eyeglasses for vision correction. Do you prefer treatment with contact lenses? We will perform a precise contact lens fitting and recommend the most suitable contacts for nearsightedness from our extensive inventory of brand-name lenses. To find out if you are a good candidate for orthokeratology or refractive surgery, contact us to book a consultation.