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Can High Myopia Be Corrected?

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A boy sitting at a table, with a pair of glasses sitting in front of him

They say the eyes are the window to the soul—but what about the window out? 

Your vision allows you to interact and enjoy the world in a very unique way. You should be able to see clearly and comfortably all the time, so it’s important to visit your optometrist regularly and pay attention to any changes in your vision.

If you have a refractive error, such as myopia, your vision can be impacted to varying degrees. However, many of these errors can be corrected with certain prescriptions or treatments.  

What Is High Myopia?

Myopia, or “nearsightedness”, is an eye condition where the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved. This causes objects at a distance to appear blurred.

High myopia is a type of nearsightedness that is rare and hereditary. It’s usually defined by a refractive error greater than -6.0, and it can worsen until you’re 20 to 30 years old.

If you have high myopia, you may experience symptoms like:

  • Fuzzy distance vision
  • Headaches & eye strain
  • Squinting to see
  • Trouble concentrating

High myopia may raise your risk of developing more serious vision conditions in the future, like cataracts or glaucoma. If left completely untreated, high myopia can lead to blindness. Regular eye exams will ensure your prescription is up to date and your eyes are in good health.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Myopia, like other refractive errors, is one of the things your optometrist looks for during a regular eye exam. 

It’s usually first identified in childhood, but usually progresses into early adulthood. Because high myopia is hereditary, it’s important to get your child examined early if you or your partner have refractive errors.

It’s important to schedule and attend regular eye exams to preserve your vision. 

A woman wearing glasses, looking up

How Is It Treated?

High myopia can be corrected just like other refractive errors. The best treatment for you depends on a variety of factors, such as your prescription, eye health, and any underlying conditions. It’s best to discuss your treatment options with your optometrist. 

Glasses & Contact Lenses

The most common way to correct high myopia is by using eyeglasses or contact lenses. You can use one, or both, and with the proper prescription, your vision will be clear and comfortable. 

Specialty Lenses

Specialty contact lenses, like ortho-K, are temporary corneal refractive lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea. This option is usually only effective for children and people with mild cases of myopia, so it won’t likely be recommended by your optometrist. 

Refractive Surgery

After your eyes have matured and your prescription has plateaued (about age 25), you can talk to your optometrist about refractive surgery. There are 2 main surgeries that can correct your vision:

Intraocular Lenses

An intraocular lens implant replaces the natural lens of the eye with an artificial one, usually performed to prevent or correct cataracts. Phakic intraocular lenses are an option for people with high myopia as they are placed inside the eye just in front of the natural lens.

Vision Therapy 

Vision therapy may be a good option if the myopia is related to an issue with your overall visual system. Your optometrist can recommend vision therapy if it’s necessary.

Prevent Worsening Myopia

While there’s no cure for high myopia, you can practice healthy habits to preserve your vision and prevent the progression of your myopia. Some tips include:

  • Reducing screen time
  • Ensuring ample light while working
  • Wear sunglasses outside
  • Quit smoking
  • Schedule regular eye exams

You can also help preserve your visual health by eating foods that are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and Lutein. This will help maintain healthy vision and eye health. Some examples of tasty foods with these vitamins include leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and broccoli.

When to See Your Optometrist

If you experience changes to your vision or are looking for new treatment options, contact our team today and book an appointment. We’re happy to serve you.

Written by Dr. M. Hurlbert

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