What is myopia?A visit to a doctor is advisable as soon as there is a reduction in the usual sight. If objects or persons can no longer be recognized as usual when looking into the distance, a doctor should be consulted.
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Myopia is a defective vision in which objects that are far away from the viewer are seen blurred. In the case of present myopia, on the other hand, things that are close to the viewer are seen sharply.
People who suffer from myopia but do not wear appropriate optical aids (glasses or contact lenses) often show their eyes squinting when looking into the distance; In this way, the sight can get better in the short term.
Myopia also owes its name to this fact, for the Greek term for myopia is based on the word 'myops'; this means in German as much as 'Blinzelgesicht'.
The severity of myopia is indicated individually in the unit diopters; Myopia is characterized by dioptric values in the negative range, eg -0.5 dioptrin.
A nearsightedness can be based on various causes. The most common cause of myopia in Germany is an eyeball that is too long in relation to its refractive power (this form of myopia is also referred to as "axial myopia").
In this form of myopia, the light rays that fall on the eye are therefore already focused before they hit the retina, thus blurring the image on the retina. Axial myopia, a form of myopia, can be hereditary, but it is also commonly observed in people born prematurely.
Another possible cause of myopia is too high a refractive power or a curvature of the cornea or lens; This form of myopia is called refractive myopia. This form of myopia is less common in Germany.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Myopia is often apparent in early childhood, less often develops in adulthood. The symptoms of myopia are usually such that they increase with time. This means that eyesight becomes more and more limited over time. With visual aids, however, the progression of myopia can be well controlled, until finally no further deterioration occurs.
The first signs are usually that the affected people unconsciously pinch their eyes when looking at something more distant. This is due to the attempt to compensate for the insufficient accommodation of the lens by a lower incidence of light. Accordingly, this shows for the first time at far away objects, later then at fairly close objects.
It comes in the recognition of faces, lettering and so on increasingly problems. Reading a book, on the other hand, does not cause any difficulties. Illuminated objects are perceived as being particularly blurred. Focusing more on distant objects - such as a lecture or TV several feet away - can cause [headaches] or dizziness. In addition, the eyes can sometimes begin to hurt.
Also, myopes are more susceptible to perceiving shadows or streaks in their own field of vision. This is due to liquefied parts of the eyeball, which occur sooner in short-sighted than in people with completely healthy eyes.
diseaseSchematic representation of the anatomy of the eye with myopia and after treatment. Click to enlarge.
Myopia usually develops within the first three decades of life and then progresses no more or much slower. However, with a pronounced myopia, even after the age of three, there may still be marked deterioration.
If there is myopia in the form of axial myopia (ie if the eyeball is relatively elongated), the risk of the retina becoming thinner increases with increasing myopia or with increasing length of the eyeball.
As a result, this can lead to retinal detachment in severe myopia. This also increases the risk of blindness in the case of retinal detachment, which does not occur in good time.
As a rule, myopia does not lead to any special complications for the patient. However, in most cases, the disease is not causally curable, so patients are dependent on glasses or on contact lenses. There is no self-healing. Sufferers suffer from vision problems due to myopia and can no longer recognize objects properly.
As a rule, complications only occur when the nearsightedness is not treated and the person concerned does not wear any visual aid. The muscles of the eyes continue to be heavily strained, so that the refractive error can increase even further. In the worst case, it can also lead to complete blindness of the patient.
In adulthood, myopia can be treated with the help of laser surgery. It does not cause complications and the symptoms disappear after the procedure. However, the wearing of glasses or contact lenses is possible. The person concerned may not be able to perform certain occupations or activities due to myopia. However, the life expectancy of the patient is not affected or reduced.
When should you go to the doctor?
A visit to a doctor is advisable as soon as there is a reduction in the usual sight. If objects or persons can no longer be recognized as usual when looking into the distance, a doctor should be consulted. If your own vision is significantly worsened in direct comparison to people from the immediate environment, a doctor is to report from the observations. If it comes to a blurred vision or sighted contours are only vaguely recognized, an eye test provides information about the existing impairments. If the sight decreases suddenly or gradually, there is cause for concern. A doctor should also be consulted if the ability to look far is only sporadically reduced.
Stress triggers, medication or other causes can lead to transient myopia. To prevent permanent damage, a check-up with a doctor is recommended. If the person suffering from sleep disorders, headaches or perceives a sensation of pain in the eye, a doctor's visit is required. If you have a feeling of pressure in the head, an inner restlessness, a decrease in concentration or efficiency, a doctor should be asked for advice. If the abnormalities of diminished vision occur despite the presence of visual aids, a doctor must be consulted. Correction adjustments are necessary to prevent further deterioration of vision.
Treatment therapyEyesight has many more people today than it did a century ago. Only an eye test provides certainty, as it is ordered to the performance of the eyes.
Myopia can be treated in several ways. One possibility is the use of optical aids (glasses or hard and soft contact lenses). Lenses used in myopia are diverging lenses. They are characterized by a negative refractive power. For slightly pronounced myopia so-called OK contact lenses can be used; they can temporarily flatten the cornea slightly.
Other treatment options are (according to the form of a present myopia) surgical procedures for the correction of myopia; In the case of axillary myopia, surgery can take place, for example, in the form of a laser treatment. One of these methods is the LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) method.
Here, a narrow layer of the cornea is raised by scalpel and folded up; Following this, fine parts of the center of the cornea are vaporized by laser in myopia so that incident light is concentrated on the retina and thus a sharper vision is possible. The procedure is mostly outpatient and takes a few minutes. An improvement when looking into the distance is often noticeable after a few hours.
The chances of a complete compensation of myopia are generally higher, the lower myopia is.
Outlook & Forecast
Myopia offers a relatively good prognosis. The myopia can be completely corrected by visual aids and surgical procedures. Affected individuals have the opportunity to undergo laser treatment or take other measures to reduce myopia.
Worse is the prognosis when myopia occurs as part of a chronic disease that continues to progress. For example, a myopia can be treated symptomatically in the case of a hereditary disease, but the ability to see continues to decline. The patient finally goes blind completely. As a result, the quality of life decreases significantly, as previous activities can no longer be exercised. Often, the profession must be changed and there are financial burdens, as the health insurance does not pay for the consequences of a sudden illness.
In general, however, the prognosis of myopia is positive. If the person concerned is wearing a visual aid or undergoing an intervention, a normal survival is possible. Life expectancy is not affected by myopia. In congenital myopia, often no laser treatment or other intervention is possible. The victims are usually dependent on visual aids. However, this represents at best a visual blemish and usually has no further health problems.
There are few ways to effectively prevent myopia. Depending on the type of myopia, however, it is possible to prevent any consequences (for example, in the case of severe myopia, a regular ophthalmologist visit can help to prevent or remedy retinal detachment at an early stage); The course of some forms of refractive myopia can be positively influenced by a consistent treatment of underlying problems (eg cataracts).
The purpose of the aftercare is the early treatment of a recurrent disease. This is known, for example, from tumors. But myopia is different. It is permanently present and can not appear repeatedly. In addition, it does not represent a life-threatening disease. The aftercare here aims rather to support the affected person in their everyday life and to prevent complications.
This is done primarily by providing suitable aids such as glasses and contact lenses. Adequate eyesight is not only a requirement for participation in road traffic, but is essential for almost all areas of life. However, as changes in vision often occur during life, ophthalmologists recommend an annual check-up.
This also clarifies other complications. The scope of the complaint forms the basis for the scope of an investigation. Meanwhile, there is also the possibility of an operational correction. However, the result of such an intervention can not always be predicted.
Achieving the desired goal in the form of 100% vision will eliminate the need for long-term follow-up. Only in acute vision loss, the patient turns to an ophthalmologist. If a surgical procedure does not produce the desired effect, vision aids must still be used.
You can do that yourself
If intensive, lengthy eye work can not be avoided, a temporary relaxation of the eye muscles helps. Affected people should turn their eyes from time to time to a point in the distance. This changes the curvature of the lens, the eyes are "adjusted" and temporarily relieved. When working on the computer, a minimum distance of 50 cm to the monitor is recommended. Numerous settings such as an optimally selected contrast, an enlarged representation of the objects and selectively selectable magnifying lenses make it easier for the near-sighted to work on the screen. In extreme cases, a Braille keyboard is recommended. Special computer programs read on-screen texts, in leisure time unnecessary audiobooks or audio magazines self-reading.
In domestic life, a tight order and a good labeling of objects prove themselves. Those affected can make sharp, pointed or fragile utensils with marking tape in bright colors widely recognizable. On electrical appliances such as stove or washing machine marker points help in different colors, shapes and sizes. With their help, switch settings can be felt. To rule out serious confusion with drugs, there are drug dispensers from the pharmacy. There, relatives can sort the required daily dose. For harmless substances, such as drinks or food, the inclusion of further sensory perceptions helps. Much can be seen about its texture, size, weight and smell. Glare-free, flicker-free light supports the view.
There are special services for the visually impaired in public areas. For example, some airlines offer escort at the airport. Visually impaired train passengers can book a transfer service in advance and many timetables have a text mode.