Dangers of Untreated Myopia

Myopia is an often-progressive eye disorder that allows near vision while making distant vision blurry. And because of it’s common-sounding and unthreatening other name, “Nearsightedness,” many people think that it is not a serious problem. In most cases — especially children with progressive Myopia — the evidence shows very much the opposite. In fact, childhood Progressive Myopia can lead to a long list of other eye diseases which in turn can lead to blindness unless early treatment is administered.

What Causes Myopia

Myopia generally has one of two causes. The first cause is a cornea or lens that is curved too much, causing light to focus in front of the retina, the part of the eye that actually senses light. This type of Myopia is often not progressive and can be corrected with conventional glasses or contact lenses.

The other more common cause of Myopia is an elongated eye. The cornea and lens are properly shaped, but the longer eye — resulting in the retina being further away from the cornea and lens — again results in the light focusing in front of the retina. However, this type of Myopia is almost always progressive, which means it gets worse over time.

Genetics often plays a role in Myopia. If one or both parents has Myopia, the children are much more likely to have Myopia. But what seems to contribute greatly to the progression of Myopia are the environmental and lifestyle factors, such as:

  • Looking at screens
  • Less time outdoors
  • Less time in sunlight
  • An increase in all types of close-up work.

In fact, there is a Myopia Epidemic in the United States, where Myopia has increased 100% from 1972, and is increasing more rapidly now that smartphones, tablets and computers are much more common.

How Bad Is My Child’s Myopia?

Myopia is measured in negative numbers, called Diopters. The severity of your child’s Myopia is determined by the number of negative Diopters.

  • Mild Myopia, from -0.25 to -2.75
  • Moderate Myopia, from -3.00 to -5.00
  • High Myopia, greater than -5.00

If your child has Myopia, your eye doctor will tell you how severe the Myopia is, and the number of Diopters for each eye. If your child’s vision is getting progressively worse, the number of Diopters will increase over time. And if left untreated, your child’s vision will likely get worse year after year, eventually resulting in some other very severe eye disorders, which in turn can lead to blindness.

The Dangers of Untreated Myopia

Untreated Myopia means that your child’s Myopia will get progressively worse over time.

Patients with Moderate Myopia have a higher chance of other serious eye disorders than patients with no or Mild Myopia, including

  • Double the risk of Glaucoma
  • Triple the risk of developing Cataracts
  • Nine Times the risk of a Detached Retina
  • Ten Times the risk of Macular Degeneration

Left untreated, Progressive Myopia will get worse, and over time, will result in High Myopia. Patients with High Myopia have an even higher chance of all of these eye disorders.

  • Triple the risk of Glaucoma
  • Five Times the risk of developing Cataracts
  • Twenty One Times the risk of a Detached Retina
  • Twenty One Times the risk of a Detached Retina
  • Forty Times the risk of Macular Degeneration

All of these secondary (and mostly avoidable) severe conditions can lead to blindness in some patients.

Can Progressive Myopia Be Treated with Stronger Lenses?

We always recommend the most appropriate treatment options for any eye condition, and there are several treatments — collectively called Myopia Control — for Progressive Myopia that can slow or stop the progression of Myopia.

However, sometimes a parent will ask us if we can just prescribe stronger glasses or contact lenses for their child, instead of these Myopia Control Treatments.

The short answer is that stronger lenses simply mask the symptoms of Myopia, and are not a treatment for Myopia. As a result, stronger lenses will simply allow your child’s Myopia to get worse, jeopardizing your child’s vision more each day.

If you are looking for the best vision for your child with Myopia over his or her entire life, simply prescribing stronger lenses is not the best course of action. A proper course of Myopia Control gives your child the greatest chance of lifelong clear vision.

Treat Your Child’s Myopia Now

We specialize in Childhood Myopia, and have several Myopia Control options available. The best course of action is to get an accurate diagnosis first, and then begin treating your child’s Myopia. Make an appointment today by calling our office at 818-891-6711 or by using our online appointment form.

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