Eye conditions & symptoms 3 min read

What are the Different Types of Myopia?

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Myopia, which is more commonly known as short-sightedness, is a common eye condition that can affect your ability to see objects at a distance. When left uncorrected, myopia can lead to severe vision impairment, which is why it’s so important to attend regular eye examinations.

There are different types of myopia, and it can help to be aware of them to prevent any worsening of myopia and to know when it is time to see an optician or GP.

Recognising the signs of myopia

Myopia usually begins during childhood and into early adulthood, so if you have young children, it can help to look out for any changes in their behaviour.

One of the most common signs that you might be developing myopia is struggling to see objects at a distance. Things might appear blurry, whether it is a road sign or the television screen. Similarly, you may find yourself squinting to see clearly, or begin experiencing headaches when straining your eyes to see something.

Glasses for driving

It’s important to remember that younger children may not be able to articulate what is wrong, so look out for them sitting closer to the television, rubbing their eyes or complaining of headaches.

Diagnosing myopia

Myopia is picked up very easily during a routine eye examination. Your optician will ask you to perform some simple tests to demonstrate your visual acuity and will notice any changes, such as if your eyesight has worsened since your last visit.

Myopia can be corrected by wearing lenses, which you will likely need to wear for activities like driving.

Understanding the types of myopia

Different types of myopia can help to describe the severity of the condition. It can be helpful to understand these types, particularly if you or a family member has myopia.

Diagram to show a myopic eye and an eye without myopia

High myopia

High myopia is the term given to a severe level of short-sightedness, and in some cases, it can lead to eye health complications. You may be at a greater risk of developing the likes of glaucoma, cataracts or retinal detachment. High myopia is usually defined as -5.00 D to -6.00 D or higher, or uncorrected visual acuity of 20/400 or worse.

Heredity usually plays a significant role in developing high myopia. If both parents have it, it’s much more likely the child will develop it too.

Degenerative myopia

Degenerative myopia can also be known as pathological or malignant myopia. It can occur when high myopia progresses rapidly and can lead to degenerative changes affecting the retina. This can include myopic macular degeneration.

An examination of the eye during a routine test can help to determine any changes, giving the optometrist a chance to detect any complications in your eye health.

Progressive myopia

Progressive myopia continues to worsen year after year. A continuing elongation of the eyeball usually causes it and typically occurs in childhood. In some cases, it can continue to early adult years. Progressive myopia can develop into high myopia, but some myopia control methods can help slow or halt the condition from worsening.

Orthokeratology is becoming a more popular way to improve your vision without the need for wearing lenses. It’s important to remember that this is not a cure for myopia but can relieve symptoms.

How to take care of your vision if you have myopia

If your optician has already told you that you are short-sighted, it’s essential to wear your lenses whenever necessary, especially when driving. Consider taking frequent breaks when you are doing work requiring focus and making sure you have ample lighting.

Attending regular eye examinations is one of the simplest ways to look after your vision and eye health. This gives your optician the chance to check for any changes and look for any early signs of eye conditions. In most cases, early detection is crucial in being able to treat eye conditions effectively.

If you’re due an eye examination, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your local optician today.

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