Myopia is a vision problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused by an elongation of the eyeball, resulting in blurred vision when looking at distant objects. Understanding the causes of myopia helps you make informed decisions about how to correct your eyesight or that of your children. Find out what causes myopia and what treatments are available.
What causes myopia?
Myopia is a vision disorder characterized by sharp near vision but blurred distance vision. People with severe myopia can only see clearly at very close range. There are several causes of myopia.
Genetic causes of myopia
Myopia tends to be hereditary, meaning it is an inherited eye condition. Children with one myopic parent are more likely to become myopic. And if both parents are myopic, the chances are even higher.
Environmental causes of myopia
Our lifestyle habits influence the development of this vision problem. There is a correlation between increased time spent in front of screens and indoors and myopia development.
For example, spending a lot of time indoors and less exposure to natural light can increase the risk of developing myopia. In addition, long periods of reading, screen use or precision work can also be risk factors.
According to studies on the evolution of myopia, it is estimated that by 2050, half the world's population will be myopic. In the early 2000s, myopia affected only a quarter of people around the globe.
What are the symptoms of myopia?
Myopia symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the eye condition and the presence or absence of other vision problems. For example, a person who already has astigmatism may develop myopia.
The main symptom is nearsightedness. Near objects remain clear, but objects farther away look blurry. Consequently, people with myopia don't need vision correction to see up close. This is why some people bring objects closer to their eyes to see them better.
Other symptoms may appear, such as:
- Increased eye fatigue, especially after prolonged periods of focusing on distant objects. This may manifest as headaches, eye strain, or fluctuating vision.
- A need to blink frequently or rub the eyes to improve vision temporarily.
- Impaired vision in low-light conditions, which can make night-time driving more difficult.
Can myopia disappear?
In many cases, myopia develops during childhood and adolescence, reaching a kind of plateau in adulthood. But while it may stabilize over time, it doesn't usually disappear on its own. Spontaneous or natural cures for myopia are not possible today.
However, controlling the progression of myopia can slow it down in children and teenagers. Moreover, encouraging kids and young adults to spend more time outdoors is an excellent way of encouraging them to use their distance vision. It's well-known that playing outdoors is good for children's eyesight.
What is the treatment for myopia?
The choice of treatment depends on various factors, such as the severity of myopia, the patient's age, the stability of vision, etc. To effectively treat myopia, a complete eye exam is required. Our optometrists can then give personalized recommendations based on the results and your preferences.
Several optical treatments are available to correct myopia.
Eyeglasses to correct myopia
Prescription glasses are a solution often proposed, particularly for children and for myopia that does not stabilize.
Contact lenses for myopia
They offer an alternative to glasses and can be provided from adolescence onwards. Contact lenses can also be an option to improve visual comfort in cases of severe myopia.
Laser surgery for long-term treatment
Laser surgery, such as LASIK, can be used to treat myopia. This surgical procedure reshapes the cornea to correct its shape and improve the focus of light on the retina.
Orthokeratology for temporary treatment
Orthokeratology is also known as ortho-k or night therapy. It uses special contact lenses. These are worn overnight and temporarily reshape the cornea. This treatment enables clear daytime vision without needing glasses or contact lenses.
Intraocular lenses are recommended for severe myopia
If you're wondering how severe myopia is corrected, intraocular lenses could be the answer. In the case of severe myopia, these lenses can be surgically implanted inside the eye to correct vision.