Article 38: Myopia Risks

Welcome to Eyecare Insights with Dr. Kyle Tate, your Jenks Eye Doctor. Today we are in part two of our series about myopia control. As a review, last time we discussed “What is myopia?” Myopia is a slang term for nearsightedness. Nearsightedness is when the focus of light comes in front of the retina causing blurry distance vision but clear up close vision. At Insight Eyecare, your Jenks Eye Doctor, we treat patients of all ages for nearsightedness. We offer everything from basic dilated eye exams, contact lens fits of all complexities, eye injuries, and many other eye diseases. Insight Eyecare is located off Highway 75 and 121st St. South across from the Glenpool Simple Simon’s. Located within our clinic is a large optical boutique with over 1000 eyeglass frames to meet all eyecare needs. We partner with the finest labs, Hoya, to give you the best lenses and lens treatments possible so that you have the clearest vision available to you. Our passion is to improve your life by giving you a better view of your world. Come see us at Insight Eyecare, your Jenks eye doctor, for all your eye care and eyewear needs.

In the last article, we discussed what myopia is, some of the risks involved, and which eye care can limit its progression. Today we’re going to talk about who gets it, who is more likely to get it, when it’s most likely to develop and progress, and what risks are involved with that. Myopia is seen in all ethnicities, genders, and ages. However, there are numerous scenarios where myopia is increased. As a general age we see myopia develop more around 10 years old and develop through a patient’s twenties. As your Jenks eye Dr. we’re watching the latest research to find out that the earlier we find myopia, the more likely the disease is to progress. This means children are being diagnosed with myopia earlier than they used to be. There are many reasons for this trend, such as increased amount of screen time and reduced outdoor play time; even some of the style of lenses that we currently use to correct myopia can cause progression. Your Jenks eye doctor knows that myopia has a much higher percentage in Asian populations, up to 90% in some Asian school age children. Students in school are more likely to exhibit myopia. Myopia increases with education levels, meaning patients who are studying more to be things such as an attorney or a doctor are more likely to have significant levels of myopia compared to a blue-collar worker.

Myopia is most likely to develop as an early teenager and continues to develop through the teenage years. Ideally we would like to catch these patients and educate them on myopia control and change their treatment plans so we can prevent their myopia from getting worse to a point where it can damage the eyes. Progression comes with increased time of up close activities. Your Jenks eye doctor sees children in our office every day who spend most their time in the Insight Eye Care waiting room on an iPhone tablet or other digital device. This is not good for children’s eyes and can cause risk of myopia as well as social development. This is exactly why the studies your Jenks eye doctor reads are showing that myopia is progressing at a higher and higher rate over time.

So what are the risks of being highly myopic? In a few short words the risks are reduced quality of life, an increase in vision loss or even blindness, but let’s explain that so we’re not using a scare tactic here. As your Jenks eye doctor we know retinal detachments are very common. Mrs. Tate, my mother, has actually had one in each of her eyes. She was nearsighted to about -4.00 level. The risk with a retinal detachment is permanent vision loss. Usually someone will get a tear in their retina from it being too stretched from the eye lengthening. So we know that means from the eye lengthening from myopia, progression can tear the retina, which will cause it to detach. Myopia causes lengthening of the eye or the eye stretching out longer and longer causing the myopia to be worse. The second main concern with progressing myopia causing your eyeball to be longer is cataracts. It is unproven and less understood why cataracts would cause eye lengthening. The leading theory, and why myopia progression causes cataracts, is the fact that the lens of the eye is farther from the retina. This makes all of the necessary nutrients for the lens of the eye need travel farther to get to that lens. In other words, the lens of the eye gets fewer nutrients which cause advanced cataracts to form. There are certain other less known theories but we will not be getting into them today.

The third main concern with progressing myopia causing damage to the eye is glaucoma. You Jenks eye doctor sees many different patients with glaucoma of all ages. Publicly glaucoma is thought to have greater occurrence in older patients. This is simply not true. As your Jenks eye doctor I see many patients in their 30s, 40s, and 50s with glaucoma. It is not uncommon in a practice to have children and young adult patients with glaucoma. The leading theory on why myopia causes glaucoma has to do with the eye lengthening. Myopia progression causes the eye to be longer which causes abnormalities in the anatomy of the optic nerve. In our previous episodes we have discussed that the optic nerve gets pathologic and causes glaucoma.

Let’s review what we have talked about today. We know that many people get myopia. Specifically, Asian populations have the highest amounts, and younger populations who are on technology more also have higher incidences of it. Myopia usually begins in the second decade of life; that is also where we see the highest progression, even though myopia progression can continue into the third and fourth decade of life. The three main risks of myopia progression are retinal detachments, cataracts, and glaucoma. As your Jenks eye Dr. we are staying up-to-date with the latest research in myopia control. In the coming podcast we will tell you what we’ve found as treatment options to prevent these things. If you or any of your family or friends know of someone who has myopia that is progressing, please refer them to us at Insight Eyecare. We have an amazing staff, a state-of-the-art facility, the most advanced equipment, and our fashionable eyeglasses boutique. All are designed to give you an amazing experience. Or mission at Insight Eye Care is to improve every life at every encounter. This means that we want to stay on the latest research and treatment options to give you the best vision of your life. We do not want anyone in our community that we serve to lose vision, especially from myopia progression. Now that we have myopia control techniques, we can prevent over 50% of myopia progression. As your Jenks eye doctor it is exciting to offer these options for you. God bless you guys. Have a great day!

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