Myopia is an eye condition where you can see objects nearer to you more easily but objects further away are blurry. It is a refractive condition where your eye does not bend light properly, making the images in the distant blurry.
In normal conditions, light enters the eye and meets contact on the surface of the retina (figure 1). The light hits the back of the eye and is processed normally by the brain through the optic nerve.
In the case of myopia, the light is focused at a point in front of the retina (figure 2). This can happen when the eye is too curved or steep, or if the eye is long.
When we are born, we are born with long-sightedness. This is because our eyes are smaller. Meaning, objects in the distance are clear, but near objects are out of focus. As we develop over the next couple of years of our life, our eyes grow to their expected / required length necessary to achieve emmetropia (or normal), but sometimes, the eye could grow longer and lead to myopia.
Who’s at Risk?
Near sightedness can gradually develop, often appearing in early years and stabilises during middle age.
The eyes grow rapidly during early childhood, making younger children more at risk of developing myopia as their eyes continue to develop quickly until the age of 12.
The risk of developing myopia pre 12 years of age include High Myopia, which is an irreversible and life-long condition.
High Myopia is a lifelong, irreversible condition where the eye has become severely short-sighted. Those who develop myopia at a younger age are at higher risk of developing High Myopia which itself has potential blinding consequences, including retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts.
It is generally considered genetics is by and large the biggest contributor of developing myopia, followed by environmental and lifestyle factors such as more time spent near work and less time spent outdoors.
There is evidence that near-sightedness is not only caused by genetic predisposition, but by environmental and lifestyle factors.
As our society has shifted from agriculture and manufacturing, to office desk jobs with working well into the night and an always on-screen culture, our eyes are under more stress and strain than ever before.
It therefore stands to reason we can help exercise our eyes to reduce the impact of our environment on our eye health.
Exercise your eyes
Challenge your focus and strengthen it by doing the following
- Hold your finger away a few inches from your eye
- Focus your eyes on your finger for 10 seconds
- Divert your focus onto something afar in the distance for 10 seconds
- Re-focus on your finger and slowly bring it back closer to your face
Do this exercise two to three times, once a day.
Near / Far Object focus
- Look at something close to you, say the edge of your computer screen or the desk plant and focus on a defining feature of this object for 10 seconds
- Now look at something as far as you can possibly see – a branch or streetlight outside. Hold this for 10 seconds
- Now re-focus your eyes on the close object
Do this exercise three to four times, once a day.
Reflex Pressure Point Massage Self-Treatment
Acupressure therapy stimulates your eyes and can help keep them healthy. It focuses on rebalancing the “energy flow” through your meridian channels. Think of it as helping transport blood, oxygen and minerals across your body by unblocking build up across your veins and capillaries.
There are pressure points located at the top of your hands, below the first two fingers after the thumb on either side, as indicated in figure 3. Gently press on this area for 10 seconds at a time, each hand. Repeat between five and ten times a day for relief.
General Eye Care Tips
Good eye health, much like overall health and well-being is something you earn and adopt into a daily lifestyle. We recommend the following care regime to improve overall eye health:
- Eat healthy foods including a diet rich in Vitamin A, C and E
- Healthy fats are your friend – omega 3, 6 and 9 and MCT fatty acids have beneficial properties for overall health
- Drink plenty of water
- Take frequent breaks from the screen and exercise your eyes
Symptoms of Myopia often begin during childhood and if treated early enough, can be effectively managed. While there is no cure for myopia, treatment can be sustainable enough to help restore distant vision.
Prevention in this instance is better than remedy and we advise adopting a conscious effort to take breaks away from the screen, exercise your eyes and consume a healthy, balanced diet.