The nearsightedness epidemic currently blocking and blurring the distance vision of millions of people worldwide isn’t stopping there, either in terms of its fast-paced growth, or in its effect on lives, which goes far beyond plain sight. Instead studies and research are linking myopia and its prevalence growth to an increasing number of lifestyle and health issues according to Gary Rodney, Sydney-based fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC), and founder of the Smart Vision Optometry (SVO) system.
He said the refraction error negatively affects many other vision problems, as well as educational, psychological, behavioural, and physical issues. As a result many countries, eye health organisations and practitioners like him are currently campaigning to increase the awareness regarding myopia and the often-overlooked consequences of this refraction error.
This, Rodney says, is in a bid to find ways to control or manage the incurable (but treatable) impairment, and slow its progression from low myopic levels to the pathological area of high myopia, while reducing the speed at which it is spreading round the globe.
The Most Common Vision Problem in the World
The eye impairment which causes the data-bearing light rays, which carry information on what is seen, to land in front of the retina instead of on it, is now the most common vision problem globally. Already blurring the vision and lives of one in three people globally, it’s also affecting far more children every year (and at younger ages) as well as progressing further and faster as it climbs the ladder of its levels of severity.
According to Rodney, other vision problems are also increasing in response to myopia’s increasing impact as its prevalence grows. It’s upping the impact of cataracts and glaucoma and sometimes delivering its own brand of non-age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of sight. And that’s still not where it stops. It’s also giving rise to more and more learning difficulties, as well as emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, difficulty socialising, negative personality traits and low self-image in myopics who perceive and understand the world around them differently.
How Myopia Can Affect Lives
“Everything, including life, and how they react to it in directions they take, career choices, future plans, action and behaviour, can be affected by nearsightedness. To those with myopia, all of these can seem just as blurred and hard to interpret, understand, or apply to their lives, as those objects they try to look at which are more than 20ft away,” Rodney says.
“Only items close by are clearly seen. This can lead to an adjustment of interests, actions and entire lifestyles to match with what they can see clearly and easily understand. Avoidance, on the other hand, van appear to make better sense to them when either sight or mind are challenged by what’s physically or mentally far away, or requires the ‘bigger picture’ that broadens interest, increases curiosity, and allows for being able to explore different perspectives when viewing long-term concepts or thinking about the future.”
For more information on myopia, its treatment and management, or to make an appointment for a consultation, visit the Smart Vision website: Optometrists Sydney: Optometry Services For Children and Adults | Smart Vision; for specific information about Myopia treatment and prevention visit Myopia Prevention: Solutions, Control And Treatment In Sydney; and for detailed information about Myopia Treatment visit Orthokeratology In Sydney: The Non Surgical Alternative.
To book an appointment for a thorough eye check-up, click here or Call the Bondi clinic on (02) 9365 5047 or the Mosman clinic on (02) 9969 1600.