Myopia Week 2019

Get Smart, Quick! Read Frequently Asked Questions and Get Answers.

Myopia is the more technical term for "near-sightedness," which is the presence of blurry distance vision with the ability to see objects up close. According to the World Council on Optometry, almost half of the world's population will be myopic by the year 2050, with nearly one billion people in the high myopia category.

For Myopia Awareness Week, Columbia Doctors are joining the effort to raise awareness in order to get people talking and informed. That's why listed here is info about the Myopia Control Clinic (contacts are listed at the end of the page) and answers to the most frequently asked questions about this fast-growing condition.

We also invite you to read and to learn more about myopia here - Shaping the Eye for Perfect Vision and read the Fall2018/Spring2019 edition of Viewpoint, the Department newsletter

We hope this effort will spark conversation about this eye condition that is anticipated to reach epidemic proportions. We hope you will join us in our efforts!

 


Myopia FAQs

Q.1 What is myopia?

Answer: Myopia is the more technical term for “near-sightedness”, which means blurry distance vision with the ability to see objects up close. For example, you can see what time it is on your watch without wearing glasses, but need glasses to see the TV.  Myopic children may have trouble seeing the school chalk or smart board.

Q.2 How does myopia happen?

Answer: Myopia is most often the result of the excessive enlargement of the eye over time. Meaning, the eye grows longer than an average sized eye. Light coming into the eye is focused in front of the retina in a myopic eye causing blurry vision. Corrective lenses like glasses or contacts are used to move the focal point onto the retina which restores clear vision.

Q.3 What causes myopia?

Answer: This is a tough question. The mechanisms of myopia are still poorly understood; however, there is evidence that both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the development of myopia. Also, there is recent evidence that myopia may be caused by light focusing behind the peripheral retina in a fully corrected eye.

Q.4 What are the risk factors for developing myopia?

Answer: The highest risk for a child to develop myopia is having two parents who are myopic. Other risks include performing a lot of near work (writing, reading, most homework activities, etc.) in addition to a decrease in outdoor activities.

Q.5 Why is myopia a health concern?

Answer: For starters, myopia means that vision is blurry without corrective lenses, which may act as a handicap in many instances – like needing glasses to see the board at school or to drive. Costs associated with these handicaps may also be high – including glasses, contact lenses, laser procedures, surgeries, etc. Other important health concerns include an increased risk for developing eye diseases including glaucoma and retinal pathologies such as retinal detachment. These risks increase with higher levels of myopia.

Q.6 What are the current treatment options for myopia?

Answer: Standard treatments for myopia include corrective glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery.

Q.7 What is myopia control and how is it different from standard methods of treatment?

Answer: Myopia control is meant to slow down the progression of myopia. Instead of simply correcting the current glasses prescription, myopia control methods aim to prevent the prescription from getting worse or slow down the rate at which it gets worse over time. In this way, it decreases the risk of being visually impaired as well as the probability of getting other ocular diseases associated with higher levels of myopia.


Our Experts - Optometry:

Y. Shira Kresch, OD, MS, FAAO; and Suzanne Sherman, OD, FAAO

Contact the Myopia Control Clinic

To learn more, schedule a consult, or speak with a specialist contact Ms. Jacqueline Maldonado by phone at (212)342-5632, or via email at jm4836@cumc.columbia.edu.