Addressing myopia (nearsightedness) progression is crucial among pediatric and adolescent patients (your kiddos!) since they are still in their developmental years – a period of time when the eyes are undergoing changes and growing. Without intervention, high prescriptions and higher susceptibility to sight-threatening diseases can result over time!
People who are myopic have longer eyeballs. This increases the risk of the following diseases:
[5x greater risk with high myopia]
A cataract is clouding of the normally clear lens of your eyes. Seeing through cloudy lenses is similar to looking through a dirty or foggy window- except you can’t fix it with windshield wipers!
This clouded vision can affect daily activities, such as reading or driving a car (especially at night).
[3x greater risk with high myopia]
Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the structure in the eye that tells the brain everything you see. As you can imagine, good optic nerve health is vital for good vision. If progression is not controlled, glaucoma can lead to irreversible damage.
[21x greater risk with high myopia]
A retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which the retina (a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye responsible for vision) pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients. Yikes! If left untreated, retinal detachments can lead to permanent vision loss.
Highly myopic eyes are associated with retinal thinning. This retinal thinning can put you at greater risk of developing a detachment.
Myopic Macular Degeneration
[40x greater risk with high myopia]
The macula is the area of the retina responsible for central vision. If you think that sounds important, you’re right, it is VERY important.
Remember how high myopia leads to “retinal stretching?” Over time, this can cause cells in the center of the retina to atrophy (or die)- leaving you with a blind spot in the center of your visual field.
The risk of each of these diseases can be greatly reduced simply by slowing myopia progression. Stay tuned to find out just how this can be done right here at BFEC!
-Aamena Kazmi, OD, Diplomate ABO
Therapeutic Optometrist at BFEC