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Other than the inconvenience of having to wear spectacles/contact lenses for clear vision, myopia can also increase your risk of developing eye disorders later in life. Such conditions include retina tears/detachment, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. One should seek medical advice should they experience sudden increase in floaters, onset of flashes, seeing straight lines becoming wavy (metamorphopsia) or myopia that continues to increase very quickly even in adulthood.
The retina is a light sensitive layer of tissue in the innermost layer of the eye that is important for vision. When one has myopia, the elongation results in thinner retina. This puts the eye at greater risk of developing a retina tear, hole or detachment. Retinal detachment requires urgent treatment to reattach the detached layer, as this may cause permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.
Cataracts refers to the clouding of one’s crystalline lens in eye. It is a condition that will naturally happen with age but being myopic causes it to occur earlier. Early signs of cataracts include increased glare at night as well as significant changes in spectacle degrees. Cataracts can be removed through surgery if appropriate.
Glaucoma is associated with increased fluid pressure within the eyeball. Severe myopia increases the risk of developing glaucoma. If left untreated, it can cause blindness. Glaucoma is known as ‘silent thief of sight’ as it is often asymptomatic, and can cause poor and constricted vision gradually.
The macula is the central part of the retina that provides the clearest vision. Increased axial elongation in high myopia may lead to mechanical stretching and thinning of the retina layers with vascular and degenerative changes.
Myopia Choroidal Neovascularisation (CNV)
Myopic CNV occurs when abnormal new blood vessels grow beneath the retina. This new blood vessels can leak or bleed very easily, causing a sudden loss of vision. This condition is potentially blinding if not treated. Multiple eye injections may be required in the treatment of this condition.
Myopic Tractional Maculopathy
As the length of the eye increases, the inner layers of the retina attempts to pull away from the outer retina causing the retina to thicken. This condition requires regular monitoring as it may lead to complications in the future. It may also require surgery.
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