Are you nearsighted?

Despite being observed to be increasing in the general population, there is no established culprit for the development of myopia, or nearsightedness. As with many medical conditions, many factors have been linked to the development of myopia.

One commonly cited cause is the prevalence of screens in our daily life. From smartphones to tablets to computer screens, this close work has been shown to degrade vision. Genetics has also been blamed as nearsightedness seems to run in families. Diets have also been blamed but a healthy diet will not hurt. It’s not necessary to eat more carrots though. That’s a myth perpetuated by the British in World War 2 to hide the fact that they had developed radar to spot enemy planes. What’s commonly suggested is to spend more time out in the sun. For children, it’s recommended that they spend at least 40 minutes out in the sun everyday.

Myopia can occur at an early age, and parents should know the symptoms so that the condition can be corrected. Signs to watch out for include headaches, watering of the eyes, squinting when watching TV and holding a book or tablet close to the face to see. In adults, headaches, blurry vision, and squinting are telltale signs of myopia.

Don’t dismiss these symptoms, as myopia is easily treatable. An optometrist in Victoria will prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. Childhood myopia can also be corrected with atropine eye drops. These have been shown to halt the progression of myopia in children. But don’t delay in having your children’s eyes checked as soon as you spot the signs. Laser eye surgery can correct some cases of myopia, but only your eye doctor can say if such a procedure is appropriate to your case.

Left unchecked, it can lead to worsening symptoms like specks of light floating around your eyes, flashes of light in the eyes, and a narrowed field of vision. If you experience these symptoms, see an eye doctor as soon as possible. These are complications of myopia and are warning signs of retinal detachment. Severe myopia is also an indicator that you will develop eye problems as you age. In that case, visit your eye doctor regularly so that you can preserve your vision. For adults above the age of 40, an eye exam every two years should give you warning of impending problems.

Contact Island Eyecare Optometrists for more information on their eye exams.