Myopia can progressively worsen to a higher power, so it is best to get your eyes examined
Myopia, also known as shortsightedness or nearsightedness, occurs due to the eyeball being too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and the lens of the eyes.
This causes light rays to focus on a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surfaces, which makes near objects clear and further objects blurry.
How serious is myopia?
According to the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS) 2019 journal, 32 per cent of the population have myopia.
Optometrist Yvonne Siaw, from Eye Street Optometrist, said: “The journal predicts that by 2050, almost 50 per cent of the global population will have some level of myopia.”
“At the moment, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a rise in myopia cases, which is called ‘quarantine myopia’.”
During the quarantine period, most people are exposed to higher screen time on computers and phones for either work from home or internet classes arrangements.
“Due to the eyes straining too much on near objects and screens, and with restricted outdoor activities, it leads to myopia progression.
“And a survey was done that showed that children aged six to eight years old are two to three times more likely to have myopia during this pandemic year than children in the previous years,” she shared.
Diagnose and symptoms
To diagnose myopia, Siaw explained, one must undergo a proper eye examination and refraction assessment by an optometrist.
Symptoms of myopia include headache, eye strain and eye fatigue, which are induced by efforts to focus the eye for a clearer vision.
She added: “Excessive blinking and rubbing of the eyes are also symptoms of myopia.”
“Myopia can progressively worsen to a higher power. And it is usually due to three factors – genetics, growth and environment.”
When parents have high power myopia, their children are most likely to have their power increase progressively.
Secondly, for kids aged between six and eight, the eyeball length is susceptible to becoming longer when they are growing.
“When this happens during the early growth period, the power will increase more rapidly until they reach the stable growth age, between 30 and 40.”
The final factor for myopia is the environment, such as the bad reading practices or constant strains to the
eyes in dim areas which will cause the power to increase.
Treatment for myopia
Myopia control, she explained, is the term used to describe the treatment to slow down the progression of myopia, especially in children.
“As an optometrist, there are a few solutions or treatments we are able to provide for myopia.”
“Lenses can treat myopia and we, optometrists, provide prescription lenses, which includes contact lenses.”
Meanwhile, at ophthalmology centers, she explained one can get medication, such as atropine drops or laser eye surgery.
Siew also shared the 20-20-20 rule to prevent eye strain.
The rule is more for eye hygiene and eye relaxation practice, as to not over strain the eye.
“The 20-20-20 rule is, for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen or any other close work, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.”
Glass vs contact lenses
According to Siaw, both glasses and contact lenses are important because both have their own advantages in different circumstances.
“For example, when at home and you are relaxing, it is more convenient to wear glasses. On the other hand, contact lenses are more convenient when you are doing extreme or sports activities.”
“So, we usually convince customers to use a combination of both.”
She noted that Acuvue lenses for myopia are designed with hydration, moist and tear technologies which provides all day comfort and performance.
A patient experience
Siaw shared that usually children with myopia do not understand that they have vision problems and therefore are not able to share with their parents. She described one interesting experience.
“Once during a routine eye test for our regular customers, we noticed that their child was squinting and kept blinking its eyes.
On noticing that, Siaw brought it up the parents and suggested letting the kid have an eye examination.
“While initially they were sure there wasn’t any vision problem with their child, but after convincing them to agree to an eye examination, we discovered that the kid had high power myopia.”
It is understood that prior to this, there was concern on the child’s concentration in class, shared by the child’s teacher.
“The child could not see clearly and was thus not concentrating in class.”
She explained that because children tend not to or know how to complain about their vision problem combined with parent’s assumption that their child’s vision is fine based on observation of their child’s activities with near objects, like reading or using the laptop or phone leads to late detections.
“It is for the best interest of the children to get proper eye examination at least once a year, to make sure they have normal vision or not.”
Eye Street Optometrist
Eye Street Optometrist is a primary eye care practitioner and has been operating for more than 10 years.
“We believe our optical center aspiration is about seeing things differently, with a unique environment, enjoyment and freedom of choices.”
“Our priority is to care for our patients’ or customers’ needs.”
As such, Eye Street Optometrist is equipped with proper equipment and facilities for primary eye examination, which includes slit lamp, tonometry and fundoscopy.
Adapting to the new normal during the pandemic, they also provide digital consultation and direct to patient deliveries of optical aids.
“However, we still prefer patients or customers to have a proper appointment and come over to have a full eye examination.” — The Health