What Could Myopia Mean to Me?
People are diagnosed with myopia every day. But the implications of that diagnosis may vary widely.
In most cases, the condition is easily treated, as with a pair of prescription eyeglasses. But other cases, if allowed to progress, may be more alarming. Myopia is also seen as a risk factor for glaucoma, cataracts and even retinal detachment — all serious conditions that affect a person’s ability to see.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder marked by the loss of retinal nerve fibers that can lead to blindness. A 2012 study notes that some studies have shown a link between high myopia and glaucoma, although researchers said “direct and convincing evidences are still lacking.”
The retina may become detached if the eye’s shape changes. In many people, myopia occurs because the eye becomes increasingly egg-shaped rather than round. This may cause blind spots, blurred vision, shadowy lines or other abnormal effects, according to Prevent Blindness, the eye health advocacy organization.
Cataracts are associated with high myopia, but they appear more likely to cause, rather than be caused by myopia, according to a study in the British Journal of Opthalmology.
In short, while most cases of myopia are easily diagnosed and corrected, the risk of more serious problems is real. That’s why it’s so important to address the condition when it’s diagnosed.“We want to study ways to slow that progression,” says Dr. Chunming Liu of the Pacific University College of Optometry.
Researchers at Pacific are working to reduce myopia and its effects around the world. The latest effort: Participation in a national study of an eye drop designed to slow the progression of myopia in children. Pacific is looking for school-age children who have been diagnosed with myopia to participate in the study. Participants will receive all study-related visits, eye exams, and eye drops for free, along with a yearly allowance for glasses and/or contact lenses.