Nearsightedness is an eye disease when close-up vision is not impaired, while more distant objects are barely seen. In most cases, myopia is a harmless disorder that doctors can correct quickly with glasses or contact lenses. However, the problem can only be eliminated by eye surgery.
Myopia (so-called nearsightedness) is a condition when the patient cannot distinguish between images and objects at a great distance from the eye. The reason is usually a too-long eyeball. Therefore, the cornea is also curved, so the light entering the eye is not focused correctly. It is called refraction disorder.
Myopia is a common reason for vision loss. It is known that approximately 2.6 billion people have this disorder (about 35% of the world's population).
According to statistics, there are almost four times more nearsighted people than farsighted individuals (people suffering from hypermetropia). In addition, myopia is more common in young (under 40), while farsightedness is more typical in older people.
Ophthalmologists determine two main types of myopia:
- Non-progressive, which is well corrected and does not require treatment.
- Progressive - rapid deterioration of vision, causes complications and requires surgery.
Doctors also classify myopia into:
- Simple myopia (or myopia simplex) - often develops during school years, usually between the ages of ten and twelve. In subsequent years, it may worsen and then usually remain stable.
- Malignant myopia (or myopia maligna) is nearsightedness in which vision deteriorates sharply and the risk of complications increases.
In addition, severe myopia can contribute to other diseases. For example, glaucoma and optic nerve atrophy can develop if intraocular pressure rises. In malignant myopia, the retina can stretch so much that retinal detachment occurs. As a result, vision can deteriorate up to blindness.
Causes of myopia
Shortsightedness has two causes:
- The eyeball is too long (so-called axial myopia).
- The refractive power of the eyes is too high for a usually long eyeball (called refractive myopia).
However, the result is the same in both cases.
Ophthalmologists identify risk factors for the development and progression of myopia:
- Muffled light;
- Stress, overwork;
- Lack of sunlight;
- Big load on the eyes;
- Incorrectly fitted lenses;
- Metabolic disorders and vitamin D deficiency.
In addition to these well-known factors, there are some conditions in which myopia is more common:
- Heredity. It has been proven that if one of the parents has myopia, the probability that the child will have it is about 20%. If both parents suffer from the disease, this chance increases to 45%.
- Diabetes with high blood sugar levels. When blood sugar returns to normal, myopia may disappear.
- Some forms of cataracts and glaucoma can contribute to nearsightedness.
- In some genetic conditions (Marfan's syndrome and Down's syndrome), severe myopia often occurs.
Children born prematurely are also more prone to myopia.
What symptoms do patients with myopia typically have?
The symptoms of myopia vary from person to person. However, the main signs are blurry distance vision and near-normal vision. It is what determines the name of the disease (nearsightedness).
Nearsighted people who do not wear glasses or lenses experience headaches and eye fatigue. Often, these people develop wrinkles around their eyes earlier because they squint for better vision.
Other symptoms that help to suspect the disorder is poor vision at night, the appearance of midges and threads in front of the eyes, rapid eye fatigue after short periods of work, rubbing of the eyes and excessive blinking.
Diagnostic of myopia
To confirm the diagnosis of myopia, ophthalmologists use various examination methods. With careful history taking, a doctor may suspect the disease. First, physicians determine refraction using a unique device among the diagnostic options. Then, a deviation of visual acuity from the norm is determined when viewed through the device.
Further examinations may follow, such as a refractive measurement to determine the refractive power or height of intraocular pressure.
According to the results of the study, patients are diagnosed with an indication of the degree:
- Light (up to minus three diopters);
- Moderate (from minus three to minus six diopters);
- Severe (more than minus six diopters).
The stronger myopia, the more difficult it is for patients to navigate and the greater their discomfort.
Treatment options for myopia
There are many different treatment choices for shortsightedness, as it is one of the most common conditions in ophthalmology. The easiest way to compensate for nearsightedness is to wear glasses. Alternatively, patients can also use contact lenses.
Eyes might be treated with a laser in severe cases or permanently eliminate myopia. Thus, the cornea is flattened, and objects at a distance are again clearly visible. Currently, laser surgery for myopia is widespread.
The most common method is LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis). After calculating the necessary correction, the upper half of the cornea is cut off with a laser and folded to the side. The laser then reshapes the cornea and removes the remaining cornea. The resulting injury heals entirely within a few days.
The minimally invasive SMILE procedure (also called third generation Laser Vision Correction) is a new generation technology for treating myopia. It works like LASIK but is less traumatic and has more options.
For people with mild to moderate myopia, ophthalmologists recommend PRK eye surgery (photorefractive keratectomy). In this case, the laser reshapes the cornea, correcting the curvature so that the light passes through the retina correctly.
Various types of surgeries can be used to correct myopia. One of these operations is the installation of corrective lenses (intraocular contact lenses) or replacing one's lens with an artificial lens.
The prognosis for mild myopia is favourable. Vision correction gives good results. However, with the early onset and a high degree of shortsightedness, patients have a worse prognosis for vision.
What is the modern treatment of myopia?
Modern treatment of myopia includes vision correction with lenses, laser and surgery. For mild disorders, ophthalmologists recommend lenses and glasses. However, laser surgery (LASIK, SMILE, photorefractive keratectomy) improves vision so much that there is no need to wear contact lenses or glasses. In addition, the transplantation of eye structures helps to refract light on the retina, providing clearer vision.
Why do patients come for myopia surgery abroad?
Medical tourism for eye treatment is widely developed, and more and more people go abroad to get laser eye surgery. In addition to favourable savings (the difference in prices can reach more than 50%), patients turn to foreign doctors because of their high experience in surgery.
Can I cure myopia completely?
To date, there is no cure for myopia. However, surgical treatment tactics (laser and implants) restore distance vision. In addition, modern treatments stop the progression of the disease in children and adolescents.
What are myopia surgeries used in leading eye centres?
In advanced foreign clinics, doctors use innovative surgical techniques to correct myopia: LASIK, SMILE and Photorefractive keratectomy (changing the shape of the cornea with a laser). Surgeons implant intracorneal rings into the cornea that changes the cornea's curvature and improves vision.
How to find a good eye clinic for myopia treatment?
Leave a request on the AiroMedical website, and a patient manager will contact you and help to choose the country, the best clinic for the treatment of myopia and a qualified physician.
Where can I get Myopia treatment?
What are the best clinics for Myopia treatment?
Who are the best doctors for Myopia?
Prof. Dr. med. Manfred Tetz from MEOCLINIC Berlin
Prof. Dr. med. Frank Koch from Eye Centre Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Dr. med. Mathias Maier from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Dr. med. Detlef Deiermann from Academic Hospital Bundeswehr Berlin
Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Kohnen from University Hospital Frankfurt am Main of Goethe-University