Eye problems associated with high myopia

Do you suffer with blurred vision? Nearsightedness, otherwise known as Myopia, comes in all degrees, from minimal to extreme. The more myopic you are, the more blurred your distance vision is.

Myopia develops in eyes that focus images in front of the retina instead of on the retina, which results in a blurred vision. This occurs when the eyeball becomes too long and prevents incoming light from focusing directly on the retina. It can also can be caused by the cornea or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball, and in some cases, myopia is due to a combination of these factors.

For the majority of you, myopia will stabilise when you stop growing, and glasses can offer normal vision. However severe forms of myopia occur when the eyeball continues to grow and becomes very long from front to back.

If you do have high myopia (over -6.00D) it doesn’t mean your eyes aren’t healthy, What it does mean though, is that although your eyes are healthy, you are at higher risk of developing eye conditions and changes associated with the lengthening of the eye and stretching of the retina. High myopia can increase the risk of retinal detachment, early development of cataracts, and glaucoma.

Myopia and cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40, but recent studies have shown that cataracts tend to develop sooner in higher myopia eyes compared with normal eyes. Cataracts can take some time to develop before they affect your vision. When your daily activities are being affected by your cataracts, they can be treated using cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one.

Myopia and glaucoma

Even mild and moderate myopia has been associated with an increased prevalence of glaucoma. It refers to a group of related eye disorders that all cause damage to the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain. If untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness. If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma then you may be prescribed eye drops to help control your eye pressure. It’s important that you use your eye drops as advised by your eye specialist as this will prevent you from experiencing any future sight loss due to glaucoma.

Myopia and retinal detachment

A detached retina is a serious and sight-threatening event, occurring when the retina becomes separated from its underlying supportive tissue. The retina cannot function when these layers are detached, and unless the retina is reattached soon, permanent vision loss may result. Research has found that eyes with more serious chronic cases of myopia have an increased risk of retinal detachment compared with non-myopic eyes. The symptoms include:

  • Flashing lights
  • An onset, increase or change in floaters
  • A curtain effect coming down, up or across your vision

It’s important if you notice any of these symptoms or any new symptoms to get your eyes checked out immediately by an eye specialist. The good news is that retinal detachment can be repaired by different types of surgery. Your eye specialist will be able to assess the detachment and decide which type of surgery will be best for you.

Unfortunately there are no treatments available to stop your eye from developing the complications of high myopia. This is because it’s just not possible to control the growth of your eye.

Currently treatment is aimed at improving your vision and to treat any complications if and when they happen. You will be monitored regularly by your eye specialist who will check the health of your eyes. It’s important to have your eyes checked by your eye specialist as soon as possible if you notice any changes to your vision or any new symptoms.

If you're considering laser eye surgery to help improve your vision, download our information pack.

Focus Clinic Laser Eye Surgery Information Pack CTA