Blue Sky Eye Magazine 2020

Myopia Progression & Its Impacts Myopia is separated into three levels that describe the severity of the vision problem: • Mild Myopia: -0.50D up to -3.00D • Moderate Myopia: -3.00D up to -6.00D • High Myopia: -6.00D or higher 3 As you can see, each level of myopia is defined by a specific diopter (D) range. A diopter is the unit used in the prescription to specify how much power is required for light to focus properly in order to achieve clear distance vision. Though it is first detected at lower levels, myopia may be progressive and may increase in severity from moderate to high if treatment is delayed. 4 Eye health risks are also heightened as myopia progresses. If left untreated, your child could experience the following eye health complications later in life 5, 6 : • Cataracts — a clouding of the lens of the eye that degrades the quality of vision. Though cataracts can affect everyone as they age, they often develop sooner in those who are myopic. • Glaucoma — a condition usually linked to high pressure

inside the eye that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve, potentially causing irreversible vision loss and blindness. Studies show people with myopia have a two- to three-times greater risk of developing glaucoma. • Retinal detachment — occurs when the retina, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds the entire inside of the eye, pulls away from supportive layers of blood vessels that provide its necessary oxygen and nourishment. At times, this can also lead to irreversible vision loss. • Myopic maculopathy — caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina and is a leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss 7 . Additionally, individuals with moderate or high myopia suffer from a lifetime dependence on vision correction through glasses or contacts. High myopia prescriptions are those often described as “Coke-bottle glasses,” which can be thick, heavy, and expensive. Similarly, with contacts, high myopia prescriptions often require specialized fitting and have fewer options available than those made for lower prescriptions.

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