Degenerative Myopia

Myopia (nearsightedness) is the inability to see objects clearly in the far distance.  On the other hand, objects up close are in good focus.  Myopia develops, in part, from the size of the eyeball growing too long.  One of the other consequences of having a long eyeball is that the retina and uvea (the layers that line the inside wall of the eye) are stretched thin.

If the center of the retina, called the macula, is too thin, then the patient may develop atrophy called myopic degeneration, and this may result in vision loss.  Unfortunately, there is no treatment for retinal atrophy.

Another potential cause of vision loss is abnormal blood vessel growth which can cause bleeding and swelling of the retina.  If this occurs, treatment may be recommended with either laser or an injection of medication (anti-VEGF) into the eye.

Finally, myopic eyes have an increased risk of retinal tears and detachments.  Signs of a retinal tear or detachment include flashing lights, floaters, or a curtain-like shade over their vision.  Retinal tears are typically treated with either laser or cryotherapy (freezing treatment).  Retinal detachments can be repaired with laser, pneumatic retinopexy, vitrectomy, scleral buckle, or a combination of scleral buckle with vitrectomy.