Is Myopia An Epidemic?
Dr. Leonard and his team of vision experts in the San Fernando Valley have recently witnessed a rapid increase in nearsightedness. Some researchers are calling this troubling trend a myopia epidemic.
It’s very possible that the device you’re using to read this article is to blame for these rising rates of nearsightedness. When used for extended periods, digital screens cause fatigue that can seriously damage your eyes.
Regular breaks from your smartphone, tablet, and computer screen could help prevent myopia and keep you seeing clearly for years to come.
What is Myopia and High Myopia?
“Myopia” is the inability of the eye to focus on objects at a particular distance away or blurry eyesight caused by nearsightedness, High myopia refers to nearsightedness of a higher degree than average, usually worse than 20/400 uncorrected vision. Myopia is progressive, there is a concern in myopic patients that their condition will lead to higher powers of myopia, “high” myopia.
Myopia Epidemic: A 66% Increase in Nearsightedness
Why has Myopia increased?
In 2010, the National Eye Institute (NEI) published a study concluding that myopia diagnoses had increased by 66% since 1971. The study did not link this rise in myopia cases to a specific cause. However, it sparked a great deal of further research on the subject of nearsightedness.
Most vision experts will tell you that you can damage your vision by:
- Spending too much time in front of a computer without regular breaks.
- Watching TV at night.
- Staring at your smartphone for extended periods.
- Failing to include important nutrients (Lutein, Vitamin C, etc.) in your diet.
Advances in technology, and how we interact with it, is having an impact on our vision.
Computer and Smartphone Use Linked To Myopia Epidemic
Your eyes do not fully mature until you reach the age of seven. This means that the way in which you visually consume information at a young age directly impacts your eyes’ development. Younger patients, who spend more time in front of screens, have seen a disproportionate increase in vision problems like myopia.
Does Myopia ( nearsightedness ) cause headaches?
According to UC Berkeley, the structure of the eyes changes each time you spend a long time staring at a nearby screen. Over time, your eyes elongate to focus on nearby items without squinting. Unfortunately, an elongated eye often struggles to bring distant objects into focus. This constant eye-strain is one of the reasons why myopia sufferers experience frequent headaches.
Excessive use of electronic devices like tablets or laptops, which force the eyes to focus on nearby objects for an extended period of time, can cause permanent damage. Young and mature eyes alike can suffer damage by using computers and smartphones without regular breaks.
The Importance of Myopia Treatment
As the structure of the eye elongates, the retina also begins to stretch. Because of this, patients who suffer from myopia also face a substantially higher risk for glaucoma and retinal detachment. For these patients, regular eye exams are critical. A thorough examination from a trained Optometrist can diagnose and treat vision complications before they begin to take a toll on your daily life.
Are you spending long periods of time looking at a screen? Have you noticed a change in your vision? You could be a victim of the myopia epidemic. Don’t delay—schedule your next eye exam today!
How can I stop Myopia from progressing?
Dr. Leonard and his team are some of the most respected myopia doctors in the area. They’re here to ensure that you enjoy healthy, clear vision at any age. Make an appointment online or call us today to schedule your next eye exam!