Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is the most common refractive error, affecting roughly 25% of individuals worldwide. In addition to trouble seeing distant objects, studies show that it may also increase your risk of developing cataracts.
Today, your myopia control specialists at Myopia Institute explain the link between myopia and cataracts.
How Myopia Affects Your Cataract Risk
Various studies have found that individuals with high myopia, particularly when early-onset or detected before they turn 20 years of age, are more likely to develop cataracts later on. While the exact cause remains a gray area, researchers suggest that the increasing axial eyeball length in myopic eyes may prevent nutrient delivery to the back side of the lenses. As a result, they lose their clarity and begin forming cataracts.
Your eye doctor explains that another possible reason is that the axial eyeball elongation damages the retina’s light-sensitive cells. This process may produce various by-products, which includes cataracts. In fact, researchers found that 3,600 adult Australians aged 49 to 97 who are nearsighted have a significantly higher risk of having cataracts. The likelihood was twice as high in individuals with high myopia, compared to those with low myopia.
Another thing to consider is the surgery risk that comes with having high myopia and cataracts. To be specific, surgical removal of cataracts becomes more complicated and risky when a person has high myopia. With the overstretched eyeball, it’s more difficult to accurately calculate what power the replacement lens should have. This may result in less reliable results and lower procedure success rate.
This is why your optometrist emphasizes the need to manage myopia and control its progression as early as possible. Having regular eye exams can detect signs of nearsightedness. Once we have confirmed this refractive error, we may prescribe corrective glasses or lenses to improve your vision. We may also suggest using ortho-k molds or undergoing refractive surgeries. The sooner we treat this problem, the lower the chance you’ll have to deal with cataracts later on.
To learn more about the link between myopia and cataracts or other eye conditions, contact a myopia control specialist in your area today.