Mass myopia – Why short sightedness is on the rise

22 Jun 2014

An incredible 1.6 billion people worldwide suffer from some form of short sightedness (myopia), which can vary from being mild to severe.

Myopia is the world’s most common eyesight problem, but in the last two decades there has been a significant increase in the number of children being diagnosed with the condition.

Recent research suggests that a quarter of children now need glasses to correct blurred distance vision caused by myopia.

The development of myopia has been linked to the axial length of a person’s eyeball and/or the curve of the cornea at the front of the eye.

A study carried out in the Netherlands has found that a lack of outdoor activity (less than 45 minutes a day) and a general increase in the amount of time (more than 2 hours a day) spent using near vision can affect eye development in children.

Reducing the risk of myopia

There is a genetic link to the development of myopia, with those who have a familial history of the eye condition being more likely to suffer from it too.

For children who are predisposed to developing myopia, it was suggested that they spend at least 15 hours a week outside and minimize the amount of time doing long stints of activities that require near vision.

Simple changes, such as increasing the amount of time outdoors and limiting the use of liquid crystal monitors at close range (laptops, computer games etc) can help reduce the risk of developing myopia.

Treating myopia

Myopia affects distance vision and requires a lens to be placed in front of the eye so that objects in the distance appear clear and in focus.

The most common treatment of myopia is prescription lenses (glasses and/or contact lenses), but the original error in the eye can be permanently corrected using Laser Eye Surgery at Optilase Northern Ireland.

Suitable for those over the age of 18 whose eyesight prescription has not changed for at least 12 months, Laser Eye Surgery reshapes the cornea to eliminate the need for glasses.

The cornea is responsible for the majority of refraction (bending of light) in the eye, which is why it is the point of contact during Laser Eye Surgery.

Light must land on the centre of the retina at the back of the eye so a person can see the outside world in focus at any distance.

By removing a select number of cells from the centre of the cornea using a precise beam of laser energy, its surface is flattened so that incoming light will be refracted accurately.

To find out more about correcting your distance vision with Laser Eye Surgery, book your free consultation at any Optilase clinic (Belfast, Newry, Derry/Londonderry) on 08000 121 565.

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