Myopia is a disorder that falls into the category of refractive errors (along with astigmatism and hypermetropia). In common terms, myopia manifests itself as blurred distance vision, while near vision is not a problem.

How can you tell if you have myopia?

It’s easy to find out whether or not you have myopia. Among the main symptoms associated with this refractive error are:

  • Inability to see clearly objects at distance
  • Frequent need to squint when looking at distance
  • Headaches and eye discomfort
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in poorly lit areas
  • The need to get as close as possible to an object to distinguish its features and details

What treatments are available: myopia surgery, contact lenses or glasses?

Although myopia is a disorder that can be corrected in the long term with specially designed lenses to improve vision, ophthalmologic technology has advanced and offers a range of laser procedures to remove both the glasses and the refractive error. These safe procedures are performed by the specialist and can be:

  • RelEX Smile Diopter Reduction – is the newest innovation in laser myopia correction. It is performed without a flap (corneal flap) and without removal of the corneal epithelium. It allows myopia correction up to -10 diopters. The procedure is minimally invasive, painless and the patient regains clear vision immediately after the surgery.

  • Diopter reduction with lens implant – this surgery is recommended for high diopters and is similar to cataract surgery. The procedure is short, between 5 and 10 minutes, and is performed under local anesthetic. For 45 days after the procedure, it is recommended to administer eye drops and wash the eyes daily with boiled and cooled water or saline.
  • Prescription of glasses – the most affordable solution for vision correction is still wearing a pair of glasses. Lenses are prescribed by a specialist following an examination. The disadvantage of this option is the need to wear glasses all the time and the impossibility of carrying out a number of activities.
  • Contact lenses – this option is especially effective if you no longer wish to wear glasses for purely aesthetic reasons. In this case, it is important how the lenses are applied and how they are stored overnight in a sterile medium using a specific solution.

What to expect after myopia surgery?

If myopia correction using laser technology is chosen, the period after myopia surgery is important. Most of the time, recovery is immediate, but in the first hours and days after the surgery, the following symptoms appear:

  • Dry eyes – this effect is perfectly normal following eye surgery. As a rule, the doctor will prescribe eye drops to reduce the sensation of dry eyes.
  • Discomfort – on a case-by-case basis, the patient may experience discomfort after the procedure, which will persist for several days. If the problem does not go away on its own, a specialist should be consulted.
  • Difficulty seeing at night – as with the symptoms mentioned above, this problem should go away by itself in a few days or weeks.
  • Inability to drive – although there are cases where the patient feels excellent after the surgery, it is recommended to avoid using a personal car for their own safety and that of others.

Myopia in children

Myopia affects about 5% of preschoolers, 9% of schoolchildren and 30% of teenagers, and the rates are rising. That’s because most of the time, children are at home, doing activities involving the phone or computer.

Children are more likely to develop this ophthalmological disorder if their parents are also myopic.

Symptoms of myopia in children

The symptoms of myopia in children are similar to those present in adults. As a parent, you should watch out for the following signs:

  • The child complains that can’t see clearly
  • Complains that can’t see well at a distance (e.g. at the blackboard at school)
  • Squint to see better
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Complains of frequent headaches

The importance of preventive ophthalmological examinations

Miopia la copii

Dr. Holhos’ team recommends a control every 6 months until the age of 2, or at least a control until the age of 3.

But there are situations where your child may need pediatric examinations earlier or more frequently. For example, if your baby was born prematurely and has diabetic retinopathy, they are more likely to develop a severe form of myopia. Other situations in which regular eye screening in children is recommended are:

Complications of myopia in children

Treating myopia in its early stages is extremely important. Those who do not receive treatment or receive it later than they should, risk later social, intellectual, professional and psychological difficulties. A study by Orbis International shows that blurred vision can affect children’s academic performance, prevent them from taking part in certain activities and integrating into certain groups, creating frustration, anxiety and even depression.

Furthermore, children with myopia may develop other eye diseases. One of these is retinal detachment, which occurs when the retina separates from the back of the eye. If a surgery for retinal detachment is not performed urgently, the child risks going blind. Other vision problems associated with severe myopia include:

Treating myopia in children

Treatment options for myopic children are glasses and contact lenses. The aim is to improve the quality of vision and prevent the refractive error from worsening.

  • Myopia glasses can be worn all the time or only when needed so that the patient can see at a distance.
  • Contact lenses are a good option especially if the patient is involved in sports activities. Although there is no age limit for using them, the child should already tolerate eye drops and be able to practice good contact lens hygiene. This is to prevent eye infections. If the patient experiences eye pain or redness while wearing contact lenses, contact the ophthalmologist immediately.

Laser surgery is not an option for patients who have not yet reached the age of 18 because the diopters are not yet stabilized.

As much time spent outdoors as possible is beneficial for myopic children. By balancing screen time with outdoor time, you can reduce the worsening of your child’s myopia and protect its vision as it develops.

If you notice signs of myopia in children around you, be sure to recommend a pediatric examination to parents. The Dr. Holhoș ophthalmology network, present in Cluj-Napoca, Mediaș, Sibiu, Alba-Iulia and Turda, has state-of-the-art equipment, specially developed for non-invasive ophthalmological screening. The technology is called Plusoptix, and testing is performed from 1 meter away. It’s all in the form of play, so children feel safe throughout the procedure.

References: WedMD, Mayo Clinic.

Text medically reviewed by Dr. Teodor Holhoș, Ophthalmic Surgeon
Written by Dr. Holhos Team

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