Myopia – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Myopia, also called nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is a common eye defect affecting many people. It is a refractive error where the eye fails to refract light correctly into a single focus. Instead of directly focusing on the retina, the light focuses in front of it. When this happens, distant objects become blurry while close objects come into view clearly. Irregular shape of the lens or cornea and eyeballs that are too long also contribute to a blurred vision. Aside from the difficulty in seeing distant objects, people with myopia also experience headaches, and eye strain.

What is Myopia?

Simply put, the eye is a lens that takes an image of what it sees and “projects” it at the back of the eye, where the retina is located. The retina senses the image and sends it for processing in the brain. Myopia means that the eye focuses the image of what it sees too far to the front of the eyeball. That means that the image that reaches the retina at the back of the eye is out of focus. The further in front of the retina the image is focused, the worse the myopia is.

The main reason for axillary myopia, which is what most nearsighted people have, is that the eyeball itself is out of shape. A normal eyeball is close to spherical, while a myopic eye has an oval shape. This is a permanent shape that the eyeball has taken to alleviate stress and pressure. The human body is very adaptable – it will change itself to lessen stress. That is called accommodation – the eye accommodates to reduce a certain form of stress.

The eye contains many tiny muscles that help with focusing and directing the eye. The ciliary muscles help us focus up close. That takes effort and energy. Imagine holding a one-pound weight with your arm straight. You can do it for a few seconds, maybe a few minutes. But no matter how strong you are, you’ll have to let your arm fall at some time. That’s what we’re asking of the focus muscles in the eye when we focus up close for a long time, like when we read a book, work on the computer or watch TV. The muscles in the eye can do that for a long time, but it does mean that they are stressed.

The human eye is not adapted to focusing up close for long periods of time. Our bodies evolved to live in caves, as in the stone age. Reading, TV and computers are very recent inventions compared to our bodies, and evolution has not been able to keep up. Our eyes are not well suited to close work or reading.

But today, most people do a lot of work that requires close focus. When you do focus up close, the elongated shape of the eyeball is a good thing – it makes it easier to focus almost effortlessly for a long time. And that’s what we are asking from it in our modern times.

And so the eyes accommodate to the strain they’re under.

The result is that the eyeballs grow oval or elongated. That’s fine for close focus, but less good for focusing on things that are further away. That becomes harder and harder for the eye muscles as the eye grows longer, until it’s no longer possible to see far away things clearly. When that happens, you’ve become nearsighted.

Causes of Myopia – How Does Myopia Starts?

Knowing what is myopia is not enough. It is also important to know what causes it. Myopia is often caused by the change in the shape of the eyeball. It is also believed to be hereditary. Eye experts reveal that certain conditions such as premature birth, diabetes and cataracts contribute to nearsightedness.

The first thing that happens in this process is called ciliary myopia. When we focus on something up close, the tiny muscles in the eye that do the actual focusing of the lens have to work hard. Then, when we keep that same focus for a long time, those muscles are not allowed to rest. The eyes are not adapted to keep a close focus for a long time. As a result, the ciliary muscles become unable to relax at any time (muscle spasm, in medical terms).

That is how myopia starts. Just a few decades ago, that was the sort of myopia most nearsighted people suffered from. It’s less serious, because the eyeball has not yet changed shape. All that’s needed at this point is to focus less up close, and make an effort to let the eye change the point of focus during the day. That way, the ciliary myopia never turns into real, permanent myopia.

Because we spend a lot more of our time these days looking at computer screens and TV-screens, most nearsighted people today have the permanent myopia that is a result of the eye having changed shape. So any treatment for myopia has to be effective for this “real” myopia as well, not just ciliary myopia

Myopia can also be hereditary but it is caused by both genetic and environemtnal factors. So in essence it is not strictly hereditary like eye colors. Other causes include too much reading and sitting too close to the computer monitor. Knowledge on what is myopia also requires information on how it is diagnosed. An eye care specialist or ophthalmologist usually performs a standard eye exam and other vision tests to detect myopia.

Both children and adults are susceptible to myopia. There are congenital cases of myopia where it begins in infancy and persists as the child ages. Myopia also occurs among children and adults and is known to worsen through age. Studies reveal that individuals with myopia have parents also suffering from it since myopia is a defect that can be passed from one generation to another.

How Does Myopia Progress?

As soon as ciliary myopia sets in, the body starts trying to accommodate to the muscle strain so that the muscles in the eye don’t have to contract as much to focus.

That accommodation means that the eyeball starts growing longer. It’s a slow process, but it is effective. As the eyeball grows longer, the ciliar muscles don’t need to contract as much to let the eye focus up close. But in time, it means that the eye can no longer see clearly at longer distances.

The way most of us try to alleviate myopia is to wear glasses. It seems to me that wearing glasses or lenses will only make the problem worse.

When we wear glasses, the focal point in the eye moves further back in the eye. The muscles are still straining to get focus. So the eye continues to grow longer. And we have to use stronger and stronger lenses in our glasses to compensate, making the myopia worse and worse. What started at a low 1 prescription always seems to be at 4 or 5 a few years later.

Note that myopia is not a symptom of aging. That’s the opposite, presbyopia or longsightedness. As we get older, the muscles in the eye lose firmness, and the eye can’t focus on close objects. That’s why some older people need reading glasses. Now, you can’t have both myopia and presbyopia at the same time. As you pass about 40 years of age, the myopia will get weaker because of the less firm eye muscles. But the presbyopia will usually never catch up with it to the point where you have perfect vision.

Classification or Types Of Myopia

Myopia is classified according to degree, cause and clinical appearance. As to degree, myopia can be low, medium or high. As to cause, it may be axial myopia due to the increase in the axial length of the eye and refractive myopia, which is attributed to the state of the eye’s refractive elements. As to the clinical appearance, myopia can be simple, degenerative, nocturnal, pseudomyopia, acquired or induced and form deprivation. Click Here for more information

Simple myopia is the most common type while degenerative myopia is characterized by high refractive error and one of the leading causes of blindness. Nocturnal or night myopia occurs when there is difficulty in seeing through low illuminated areas while pseudomyopia happens due to the spasm of the ciliary muscle causing distant images to be blurred. Acquired or induced myopia is attributed to various conditions like exposure to certain drugs and increase in the levels of glucose in the body. Form deprivation myopia occurs as a result of limited vision range or illumination.

Myopia Chances in Children Due to Increased Usage of Electric Lights:

Is there a connection between the cause of Myopia and the increased usage of electric lights during early childhood? This is exactly what the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, wanted to find out.

What brought about this curiosity? An earlier study of chicks found a link between the extra growth of the eye, a cause of myopia, and those subjected to constant light. The researchers hypothesized that infants, like chicks need a period of consistent darkness while asleep for normal eye development. The artificial light might trigger changes in the rapidly developing eye, such as the eye growing too long in shape, focusing in front of the retina, instead of directly on it, the cause of Myopia.

The study conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, compared 479 children, current ages 2-16, and whether they had slept in a total dark room, a room with a night light, or a room with a light on.

Their findings: 172 children that had slept in a dark room were 10% myopic.

What’s So Bad About Myopia, Anyway?

Billions of people are nearsighted, and seem to get through their days just fine. So why people are looking for a natural treatment for it? Here’s the main reason.

It’s unnatural to be nearsighted. Myopia is not a natural process that “everyone” gets. It’s a result of our lifestyle and the life most of us lead in the 21st century.

Glasses make the problem worse.

If you are nearsighted (myopic), it means that your eyes are not working properly. If other parts of your body are not working the way they should, doctors often try to make them work. If your knee is stiff, a good doctor will see what can be done to get it in working order again. Only it nothing can be done do you have to use a crutch.

But with eyesight, it’s different. The first thing a doctor will do if you can’t read his chart properly is to send you to an optician, where you will get glasses. No attempt is made to see if it’s possible to get your eyes back in order. Glasses are a crutch, contacts too. And they make the problem worse.

Now, I not saying there’s any evil intent behind it. It’s just the way things have always been done. But the fact that the optical industry are making billions in profits every year probably is, without a doubt, part of the reason why there’s no widespread use of actual treatments for myopia, natural or not. The only exception is laser surgery, which has its own set of problems.

Most of the research I have seen indicates that becoming nearsighted is a gradual process. Myopia means that the eyes adapt to the way you use them. It makes sense. If you lift heavy weights, you get stronger, because the muscles grow. If you use tight shoes a lot, your feet will take the same shape after a few years. If you often write with a pen or a pencil, your fingers will develop little calluses. These are all examples of the body adapting to the way you use it. The eyes are not exceptions.

The eye is not well suited to focus up close. Focusing strains the eyeball and the muscles around it. The body wants to avoid that strain, and so it tries to adapt. In this case, it adapts by elongating the eyeball itself. When the eyeball gets longer, the muscles in the eye no longer have to work as hard to focus the eye up close. The strain is reduced. The body has done its job, and will continue to adapt the eyes to close focus. The consequence is that the eye has now changed its shape. It can no longer focus properly on objects far away, and you’ve become nearsighted.

That change, that adaptation, can be reversed. If you start using the eye differently, it will adapt back to its normal state. It will take time, and it will require that you change how you use your eyes.

But all it means is getting the eye back to where it works properly.

Myopia Cure – Treatments for Myopia

Around 1/6 of the world’s population wears glasses, and the majority of them are caused by near sightedness or myopia. In myopia, vision is limited to nearby objects, with distant objects reduced to a blur. In severe myopia, the sufferer will often not be able to read a book beyond a foot away from his eyes.

Needless to say, this is a handicap nobody really wants to live with.

In all cases of myopia, glasses are prescribed as the “cure.” For people who don’t want to wear glasses, they can opt for contact lenses. Some who can afford it, can go for LASIK surgery, but since LASIK is not entirely risk free, are there any other ways to improve myopia? In this article, we looks at how to improve myopia from the natural standpoint. Is it possible to improve myopia via a proper combination of diet and lifestyle changes? What results can we expect from attempting to improve myopia the natural way? Are the changes permanent?

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

This is a relatibely new treatment for myopia. It is also referred as Ortho-K, Overnight Vision Correction or Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). It is a non-surgical process in which person with myopia have to wear specialized contact lenses while sleeping. These specialized lenses basically reshape your cornea curvature which results in improved vision.

LASIK Eye Surgery or Laser Eye Surgery

Lasik eye surgery is a laser vision correction prcoess that involves the precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by a special laser that reshapes the cornea thus changing its focusing power. The cornea, being the part of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina, is the cause for most vision problems, such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. These problems are often referred to as refractive errors as they are related to how light gets refracted in the lens. While glasses and contacts are designed to compensate for the eye’s imperfections, lasik eye surgery procedures are aimed at improving the focusing power of the eye at the root refractive problem.

How Lasik Eye Surgery Works?
In lasik eye surgery, a flap is cut off of the top layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, and folded back so that the laser can reach the middle of the cornea, the stroma. Here the laser vaporizes the stroma to change the shape of the cornea thus fixing the refractive error. This is beneficial to the eye as in other types of previous procedures, it was scraped away and had to re-grow itself as part of the healing process. Lasik eye surgery can also include the process of the cutting of the flap by another laser, if the vision is extremely bad and precision is extremely necessary, although this does at to the cost. To the patient, lasik eye surgery feels like a hot breath of air on the eye for no longer than two seconds.

Certain restrictions after your laser vision correction are also given so to prevent injury or infection for your eyes. You must not rub your eyes for the first week if you had undergone that laser vision correction. You must wear some eye shield too when you are sleeping for the first three nights. Tap water must not get in to your eyes for a week; therefore, swimming is prohibited for at least ten days. Eye make-ups should not be applied too and you must avoid getting the soap into your eyes when you are bathing and washing.

In most cases, people that undergo mild conditions have the best success in obtaining the normal vision after the laser vision correction. While people with more severe conditions may still require the use glasses or contact lenses, for some special situations like driving at night. People that undergo the procedure of laser vision correction do agree that it has made a positive impact on their quality of life.

Risks of Laser Eye Surgery or LASIK
There are so many doctors around us who claim that LASIK is the most effective treatment in curing myopia. But, actually it isn’t. In fact, people suffer even more from hidden dangers that often leads to permanent blindness due to LASIK.

The cornea of our eyes become thin and weakens permanently due to LASIK. This gradually leads towards progressive steepening or bulging (also known as Ectasia) of the cornea. As a result, a deterioration in eye sight occurs. Moreover, as the wound of cornea is exposed to air, the wounds tend to become more vulnerable.

Although LASIK is approved by FDA, however there are lots of cases of patients over years who have lost their vision quality due to the deadly LASIK surgery and as a result are suffering from heavy depression and some people even people have committed suicide after undergoing LASIK surgery.

Natural Cure For Myopia – Can Exercise & Diet Makes a Real Difference?

Basically the natural cure for myopia is limited to eye exercises & diet changes. There are several exercises including Palming Your Eyes, Rotating eye balls with eyes closed, drawing a giant 8 with your eye ball , moving your eyeballs sideways and up down while keeping your head still and eyes closed.

Similarly eating organic foods and foods with Lutein[1] and beta carotene[2] are good for curing myopia naturally.

Now perhaps You may find these exercises useful for your situation and perhaps not. There is no guarantee that natural methods can improve myopia, but if for some reason you don’t wish or are unable to wear glasses or undergo LASIK surgery, you would have to consider natural techniques. At its core, improving myopia naturally is all about working WITH your body and eyes to make it “remember” how to see again.

There are also some other natural cure for Myopia based on traditional Chinese acupoint massage. They are the most natural and effective treatment method of myopia that will not only cure the disease, but also reduce the pain of LASIK surgery. Traditional Chinese Massage has already gained much popularity around the world due to its effectiveness.

Curing Myopia Naturally – Myths Vs Reality on How Might a Natural Treatment For Myopia Work

I’ve done some pretty intense research on myopia (nearsightedness) and what I wanted to know was simple enough like What is myopia or How might a natural treatment or cure for myopia work? But I was surprised at how difficult it was to get clear answers to those questions. It’s the same with lots of medical issues, I think. Not all of them are well understood, and myopia is one that there are several theories about. But I chose to go with the ones that seem to be generally accepted among researchers and ophthalmologist.

Note: I take some of the things I talk about here from a fine guide, made by Klaus Schmid some years ago. You can but the original book from here: Buy Myopia Manual by Klaus Schmid

 

I see a treatment for myopia as a program or method of retraining the eye to return to its normal shape. That will mainly happen using the tiny muscles in the eye. The requirements I have for a method are listed here.

Some old methods used a sort of relaxation exercises for the eye, and that makes some sense for ciliary myopia, which is caused by the eye muscles not relaxing. That was the type of myopia that people usually had a century ago. Today, most people have axillary myopia, which is the deformation of the eyeball.

It is clearly more difficult to reverse axillary myopia than ciliary myopia, because the eyeball has grown longer and is deformed. Here are some of the things that I think a treatment method may entail:

  • It will be a method or program using the muscles in the eye to return it to its original shape.
  • It will take time. Reversing the deformation done already will be time-consuming. It took you years to get to the level of myopia where you needed
    glasses, and undoing that will take time.
  • It will probably mean using different eye exercises, training the eye to focus at different distances.
  • It will probably mean getting new habits for reading or working. Just taking a break every 20 minutes and looking at something far away for a minute or two may reduce the stress in the eye.
  • It may have a dietary element. Some foods are probably not good for the eyes.
  • It may mean ditching your glasses when you don’t absolutely need them. It seems that wearing glasses makes the nearsightedness worse

A Natural Myopia Treatment – Which Requirements Should a Natural Treatment for Myopia Cover?

Based on all the research I’ve done, it seems to me that any permanent solution to myopia should fulfill certain requirements. Here are the ones I can think of. (If you think I should add more requirements, please use the comment form on the bottom to tell me.)

  • It should provide permanent improvement. If the process that lead to permanent myopia can be reversed, I’d expect any treatment to give lasting results. I don’t want to re-train my eye muscles over weeks and months and then have the effect vanish after a short time.
  • It should not be excessive in time and effort needed. I fully expect to have to spend time re-training and reconditioning my eyes, but if it takes several hours of concentrated effort a day, I know I won’t go through with it. We all have enough things to do with our time, and even an entire hour of effort a day is pushing it.
  • It should only require moderate effort and time to maintain any gains made in vision and any lower degree of nearsightedness.
  • It should be non-invasive. This is implied by a natural cure – it should have no surgical elements.
  • It should not be necessary to use any medication to undergo the treatment, other than ordinary non-prescription over-the-counter products.
  • It should have a solid grounding in medical science and studies. This need some explanation. I’ve checked very thoroughly, and there are many studies to partly and completely confirm my theory that myopia can be reversed. But there are no studies published in English that have been done on any complete and natural cure, as far as I can tell. I will consider this requirement as fulfilled as long as any method I find does not contradict the studies I know of and the medical science that I’m aware of.
  • It should be possible to go through the treatment at any age.
  • It looks as if myopia starts in childhood. It should be possibly for kids to use the method to prevent or reverse any myopia.
  • It should be possible to go through the treatment with no ill effects to other aspects of the eyesight.
  • It should be possible to be able to tell if the treatment has had any effect after 60 days at most. I know that I will not be able to motivate myself to any effort if I don’t see any effect pretty soon after I start and Two months will be a stretch, but you have nothing to lose here.

Conclusion

It is significant to know what is myopia because of the risks that a person suffering from it may face if myopia is left untreated. Aside from blurred vision, those with myopia tend to have a much higher risk of acquiring a detached retina. They are also susceptible to glaucoma and formation of cataracts.

Severe cases of myopia can even lead to loss of eyesight. Understanding what is myopia also entails going through the available treatment to correct it. Eye care specialists usually prescribe corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses to allow the patient to see clearly. Eye strengthening exercises are also helpful in lessening its side effects. Furthermore, other patients opt for laser eye surgeries to improve their vision.

Awareness of what is myopia as well as its effects allows individuals to take extra care of their eyes. Despite being a common eye defect, it deserves attention since it often worsens when left undetected and untreated.


References & Citations:
https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/surgeryandlifesupport/lasik/default.htm
http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bates-method
https://nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/myopia
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023023/
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001023.htm
http://www.health.harvard.edu/vision/nearsightedness-myopia
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10544
http://www.myopia-manual.de/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024947/
https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nlight.html

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