What is Myopia?
Myopia (also known as shortsightedness and nearsightedness) is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not accurately focus on the retina (at the back of the eye ball) but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus and blur.
In simple terms, a person with myopia cannot see clearly in the distance but they can see objects clearly that are nearby or a short distance away.
What causes myopia?
The actual cause of myopia is not clearly known. However, genetic as well as environmental factors play a part in its development. For example, the risk of a person developing myopia is higher if one or both parents have myopia. Too many constant hours of near work such as reading, watching TV, playing games on smart phones, and computer games may also contribute to the development of myopia.
Myopia usually develops in children of school-going age and continues to worsen until they reach their early 20s, after which the condition usually stabilises.
The following symptoms may be present if your child has myopia:
Headaches from straining eyes.
Complications of myopia
Although not usually a very serious condition, higher degrees of myopia increase the risks of developing complications which can lead to reduced vision and blindness. The following are some complications that can occur:
Retinal detachment is a condition when the inner layer of the eye detaches from the eyeball.
Cataracts (opaqueness of the lens) – There is a higher chance of developing cataracts at an earlier age.
Glaucoma – Severe myopia can lead to increased fluid pressure in the eyeballs resulting in glaucoma.
Macular degeneration – This occurs when the retina degenerates, leading to reduced vision.