How is Myopia Caused?

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error of the eye that causes distant objects to appear blurry while close-up objects are seen clearly. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is too curved, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This leads to a blurred image of distant objects.

The exact cause of myopia is not fully understood, but it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Here are some contributing factors:

  • Genetics: If there is a history of myopia in your family, you’re more likely to develop it as well. Genetic factors play a significant role in determining the shape and size of the eyeball, which in turn affects how light is focused.
  • Environmental Factors: Modern lifestyle and certain environmental factors can also influence the development of myopia, especially during childhood and adolescence. Some of these factors include:
    • Prolonged Near Work: Activities that require focusing on close-up objects for extended periods, such as reading, using computers, smartphones, and playing video games, may contribute to the development of myopia.
    • Limited Outdoor Time: Spending time outdoors, particularly in natural daylight, has been associated with a reduced risk of myopia development. The exact reasons are not entirely clear, but outdoor activities might help regulate eye growth.
    • Visual Stress: Extended periods of focusing on nearby objects can strain the eye’s focusing mechanism. This strain might contribute to the elongation of the eyeball and the development of myopia.
  • Aging: Myopia can progress during childhood and adolescence as the eyes continue to grow. However, it tends to stabilize in adulthood.
  • Other Factors: Some studies suggest that factors like prenatal conditions, low birth weight, and certain medical conditions might be associated with an increased risk of myopia. Additionally, changes in hormones during puberty can impact the progression of myopia.

While genetics play a significant role in determining a person’s susceptibility to myopia, lifestyle factors also contribute to its development and progression. It’s important to have regular eye examinations, especially for children, to detect myopia early and manage its progression appropriately. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgeries are common methods used to correct myopia and improve visual clarity.