RISKS OF MYOPIA
There is no ‘safe’ level of myopia. All levels of myopia increase the chance of sight-threatening conditions such as retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma later in life. These conditions are far from rare: myopic maculopathy, a progressive deterioration of the central regions of the retina caused by pathological myopia, is the main cause of irreversible vision loss in patients younger than 50 years
According to research published by Ian Flitcroft at Children’s University Hospital in Dublin, even at -1.00, you are three times more likely to have a retinal detachment and twice as likely to develop myopic maculopathy, which can lead to blindness.
But while the risks of developing eye conditions later in life are present for any degree of myopia, the higher the amount of myopia, the higher the risk. Flitcroft’s research also showed the risk of myopic maculopathy in people with high myopia (-7.00 and over) is one in two, which means 50% of high myopic patients are at risk of permanently losing their sight.
A study conducted in South Korea in 2013 found that more severe myopia is associated to greater chances of glaucoma. In China, the incidence of adult blindness increased almost 150% in the past decade with the largest cause of new blindness being due to myopic macular degeneration, with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration following second and third.
On the other hand, recent epidemiological analysis found that reducing the rate of myopia progression by 33% could result in a 73% reduction in the frequency of myopia over -5.00, while reducing myopia progression by 50% would translate into 90% less high myopia. That is why it is so important to take an active approach and assess different options to slow down myopia progression in its earliest stages.
What about myopia control in adults?
Most myopia control studies usually involve relatively young children. As a child’s tissue is more elastic than an adult’s, myopia typically develops and tends to progress more rapidly during the school years.
However, environmental facts such as excessive near work and increased screen time contribute to visual stress and eyeball elongation. People in professions requiring a lot of close work, such as reading and using the computer, can develop myopia as adults and experience progression of shortsightedness into their working life.
The earlier your myopia is effectively diagnosed and controlled with advanced methods, the better chance for success – and this works for both adults and children.