Symptoms of myopia may include:
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
- Eye stress
- Eye fatigue
- The need to squint to see clearly
- Headaches caused by eye strain
- Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle, especially at night
Myopia is commonly believed to be due to genetic factors. Nearsightedness tends to run in families. If one of your parents is nearsighted, your risk of developing the condition is increased. The risk is even higher if both parents are nearsighted.
It occurs when the shape of your eyeball is too long or the cornea (the protective outer layer of your eye) is too curved. This causes light that enters the eye to bend incorrectly. Images focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina, which causes blurred vision.
Degenerative myopia (also called pathological or malignant myopia) is a hereditary disorder that causes persistent nearsightedness and worsens significantly over time, leading to vision problems that can’t be corrected. Degenerative myopia begins with a lengthening of the eyeball. Normally, when your body is no longer growing, your eyes retain the same shape and your vision does not worsen; however, people with degenerative myopia have eyes that keep growing each year. Parts of your eye, such as your sclera and your retina, can be stretched, pulled, and even crack as the eye grows.
Degenerative myopia can cause:
- Parts of your retina to grow very thin and eventually stop working
- The edges of your retina to become thin and break down
- The center of your retina to break down, further stealing your sight
- The retina’s underlying blood supply to become compromised
- New weak and leaky blood vessels to grow beneath your retina (known as myopic choroidal neovascularization)
- New blood vessels to scar the center of your macula and can lead to a gap in your central vision
People with degenerative myopia have a constantly changing prescription, so they may visit doctors often for new solutions. Common treatments for degenerative myopia include glasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery, although surgery is not always an option, as you need a stable prescription to take advantage of this procedure.