Your eyes are an important part of your everyday life, but that doesn’t mean they always work at peak efficiency. Many common vision problems can lead to blurry vision, eye strain, or headaches, causing an inconvenience for you. One of the most common conditions is progressive myopia.
Progressive myopia is a condition best characterized by the gradual worsening of nearsightedness over time. This condition affects millions of people every year and typically develops in early childhood, continuing to progress until early adulthood.
Progressive Myopia: What Is It?
Progressive myopia refers to a form of nearsightedness that gets progressively worse as you get older. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common refractive error that makes distant objects appear blurry. When this condition is considered progressive, the eye’s ability to focus deteriorates over time, making your myopia worse.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball grows too long or when the cornea curves incorrectly. This causes light to refract incorrectly, leading to the eye and brain building a blurry image of your surroundings.
While the exact causes of myopia aren’t fully understood, it’s believed that genetics and environmental factors play a role in a person’s likelihood of developing the condition. If one or both of your parents have myopia, you’re much more likely to develop it yourself.
It’s also suspected that certain environmental or lifestyle factors can contribute to myopia development. Prolonged activities that require close nearby vision, like reading, writing, using electronic devices near the face, or prolonged time at a computer may affect a person’s likelihood of experiencing myopia.
What Are the Symptoms of Progressive Myopia?
The symptoms of progressive myopia are similar to those of regular nearsightedness. However, the condition is considered separate due to these symptoms getting worse over time.
The common signs of progressive myopia include:
- Blurry vision
- The inability to focus on distant objects
- Eye strain
- Constant squinting
Children and younger adults suffering from progressive myopia may experience a significant change in their prescription as the condition continues to develop.
It’s essential to schedule regular children’s eye exams for kids with myopia so these changes can be monitored and addressed by an eye care professional.
How Is Progressive Myopia Treated?
Fortunately, progressive myopia has several treatment options available. These are all designed to either treat the symptoms, slow the progression of the condition, or both. These treatment options include:
- Prescription glasses: These help correct your refractive error and provide clear vision.
- Contact lenses: These are a common alternative to glasses due to their convenience.
- Corrective surgery: Operations like LASIK or PRK procedures can help reshape your cornea and correct refractive errors. These are typically recommended for stable myopia, but an optometrist may recommend them in some situations to address progressive myopia.
- MiSight contact lenses: These are specially-designed soft contact lenses that can reduce the progression of myopia in children. They use special technology to help slow or stop the elongation of the eyeball, reducing the long-term progression of myopia.
- Orthokeratology: Also known as ortho-k, these are custom-designed rigid gas-permeable contact lenses that are worn overnight to temporarily reshape the eyeball. They provide clear vision when the contacts are removed the next day and can help manage myopia progression in children and adults.
Due to how common progressive myopia is, these options can be found at most optometry practices. It’s important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam if you believe you or a loved one is developing any form of myopia or other vision condition. They can check your eyes and diagnose potentially-developing conditions before suggesting an appropriate plan for myopia control.
Where to Get Help for Progressive Myopia
When it comes to myopia—or any other eye condition—the best way to begin addressing it is through the help of a trained eye care professional. By seeking the advice of an optometrist during a comprehensive eye exam, you can get personalized care to correct refractive errors and treat other concerns.