Myopia Is Increasing In Teenagers, But LASIK Is A Reliable Solution
Myopia has always been a common vision condition – nearly 30% of Canadians are myopic, the Canadian Association of Optometrists reports. However, new research suggests that this figure stands to increase as myopia is apparently on the rise in teenagers. We may be seeing a lot more youth wearing glasses and contact lenses, but LASIK offers a long-term solution that can offer clear vision.
From providing more convenience in your everyday life to saving you money in the long-run, the benefits of LASIK are life-changing. Below, we discuss how LASIK can be a solution to myopia as well as other common vision problems.
What Is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?
Myopia, also referred to as nearsightedness, is a common vision condition in which objects that are far away appear blurry, while those that are up close are clear.
The symptoms of myopia include:
- Blurry vision at a distance
- Increased need to squint to see better
Just like in hyperopia (farsightedness), an irregularly shaped cornea is the cause of myopia. An eye that can see clearly at all distances is spherical and round, like a baseball. But in a myopic eye, the cornea is too steep, making the eye too long. It’s oval-shaped, like a football, which prevents the eye from refracting light properly, leading to blurry vision at a distance.
Nearsightedness most often develops in childhood and adolescence, whereas it stabilizes between the ages of 20 to 40. Furthermore, new research suggests that there’s been an increase in the rate of teenagers developing myopia.
The results of one study published in Ophthalmology in 2021 discovered that there’s a link between smartphone usage and myopia. The researchers found that teens use their smartphones for an average of 4 hours per day. But every 20-minute period of continuous smartphone usage greatly increases the risk of developing myopia.
So long as smartphone usage increases, the rates of myopia in teens and young adults can be expected to rise, too. And, as statistics suggest, smartphone ownership in North America will likely increase in the coming years.
Data released by Pew’s Research Center found that 97% of Americans own a cell phone. More specifically, as of 2021, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, which is a huge contrast from the mere 35% that owned one in 2011. With no reason to suggest that smartphone usage will decrease, particularly amongst youth, vision problems like myopia will likely also rise.
How Can LASIK Correct Myopia?
Glasses and contact lenses are common solutions to refractive errors like myopia, but they’re only temporary and come with many downsides. However, LASIK eye surgery is a long-term solution to common vision problems that can get rid of these inconveniences.
LASIK can treat myopia in addition to hyperopia and astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances). During the surgery, a laser is used to reshape the cornea to correct the refractive error. The results are long-term in the sense that the corneal tissue won’t grow back.
How Old Do You Need to Be for LASIK?
For many people with myopia, LASIK can be a solution. However, LASIK isn’t suitable for children and youth. At LASIK MD, we require our patients to be at least 18 years old before undergoing LASIK. Adolescents are still going through puberty, which results in hormonal changes that can affect their vision. It’s best to wait until the person’s vision is stable, which is why we require our patients to be at least 18 years of age.
The good news is that most people between the ages of 18 to 65 are excellent candidates for LASIK. As soon as a patient turns 18, we can assess their vision correction needs and determine if they’re eligible for LASIK. The sooner myopia is treated in young adults, the more they can benefit from this life-changing procedure.
When you come in for a free consultation at LASIK MD, we’ll perform a series of diagnostic tests to confirm your candidacy and discuss your options. Our team will likely be able to recommend a procedure best suited to your needs. Get on the path to clear vision today by booking a free consultation now.