There is an epidemic of myopia in this generation
Myopia, or shortsighedness, affects 30% of the world’s population and in parts of South East Asia (e.g. Taiwan and Singapore) 80% of secondary schools students suffer from myopia, with many children beginning to show myopia at earlier ages (from age 5 and 6).
What are the symptoms of Myopia?
A person who is shortsighted will be able to see things close up quite clearly, for example reading. However, for tasks that require distance vision, such as driving or watching TV, their vision will be blurred.
If a person is suffering from myopia, they may experience headaches or eyestrain when trying to focus on things far away, and for children, it can lead to other eye problems such as a squint or lazy eye.
What causes short sight?
Myopia occurs when the eye is effectively too long – so the distance between the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) and the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) is too far. This means that light entering the eye is focused before it reaches the retina, which causes blurred vision.
The causes are unknown, however research points to the fact that hereditary factors are the most important. You are far more likely to develop Myopia if one of your parents has it.
Myopia Control & Orthokeratology
The good news is that myopia can easily be corrected with the use of glasses or contact lenses.
There are also some treatment methods for reducing the progression of myopia, such as Orthokeratology. This is also known as ortho-K, and is a gentle, non-surgical process of shaping the cornea, involving wearing rigid contact lenses whilst sleeping. On awakening, distance vision is clear without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. The effect of wearing ortho-K lenses remains as long as the lenses are worn overnight, but the therapy is completely reversible.
Adults also have the option of having laser eye surgery to correct their myopia.