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Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, is too curved, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. This results in blurry vision for distant objects, while close objects can be seen clearly. In an exclusive interaction with TheHealthSite.com, Dr. Rushad Shroff, Medical Director, Shroff Eye Centre has explained how this disease progresses over the period, and what the patient is required to do to keep the condition under control.
Highlighting the reasons behind the sudden surge in myopia cases, Dr. Shroff said, "One of the major challenges we face is the increasing prevalence of myopia, especially in children and young adults. When a person is suffering from this eye-blinding condition, there is an increase in the length of the eyeball. A one-millimeter change in eyeball length can lead to a power change of approximately 2.5-3 Dioptres. For the patient, it means thicker glasses, and this is something many people find quite bothersome. But High Myopia causes other eye problems too- like lattice degeneration - which are weak areas in the retina. The retina is one of the most important layers of vision in our eyes. Some high myopes are also at risk of early cataract and glaucoma."
He further stated, "While Mopia cannot be reversed in children, it can be corrected once you're over 18 years of age with refractive procedures like SILK, LASIK, PRK, and ICL. It's important to remember that specs removal procedures do not reduce the risk of problems associated with high myopia- the procedures are done for people who'd just like to not wear glasses."
In children, myopia can be controlled with some newer advancements like eye drops and special glasses and we do have these available at Shroff Eye Centre. This means we slow down the rate at which eye power would increase while screen time for educational purposes may be necessary, recreational screen activities should be limited whenever possible. Ensure frequent screen breaks and the use of bigger size devices. The bigger the screen, the better it is. Also, it's best to place the screen at a little distance from the face. Encouraging outdoor activities is also crucial in helping to control the prevalence of myopia.
One of the many treatment options for myopia is SILK or Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is a type of refractive procedure- ie procedures done to remove specs. SILK is performed by the ELITA Femtosecond LASER platform- one of the most advanced laser vision correction technologies available for specs removal. Shroff Eye Centre is one of the free eye hospitals in India to have SILK right now.
"SILK can correct your eye power by changing the shape of your cornea. It can correct shortsightedness or myopia (Minus number) correction and Astigmatism or cylindrical power correction. However, the treatment procedure also comes with a drawback that it cannot correct Hypermetropia or plus number," said Dr Shroff.
While LASIK is quite safe and effective, the flap can be a point of vulnerability, especially for individuals engaged in contact sports such as karate, kickboxing, or football, or those in combat professions. In contrast, SILK does not involve the creation of a corneal flap. The laser incision on the cornea is minimal, typically around 3 millimeters, contributing to its safety and better corneal strength and stability.
Patients who undergo SILK tend to experience less post-operative dryness. Since there is no corneal flap creation, the corneal nerves are less affected during the procedure, reducing the sensation of dryness or discomfort.
"SILK is categorized among lenticule extraction procedures, and while there are other methods available, SILK stands out due to its ease and smoothness of lenticular dissection. This ease of dissection leads to a relatively fast patient recovery, with most individuals experiencing improved vision within a day. However, it is essential for patients to follow their surgeon's post-procedure recommendations and take necessary precautions to ensure a successful recovery. In terms of recovery, SILK has one of the quickest recovery times. Immediately following the surgery, the vision may be somewhat hazy, but in most patients, vision starts to clear by the very next day," said Dr Shroff.
Myopia is a growing concern worldwide, with serious implications for individual health and productivity. By understanding the factors contributing to the myopia epidemic and taking steps to protect our eyes, we can help prevent vision loss and improve the quality of life for millions of people.