The most common vision problem in the world: myopia
or short/near sightedness, which causes damage to the eye
and even blindness, just got easier to assess.
New research at Flinders University in Australia has identified a new method to measure how it affects the eye
, a new article in PLOS ONE reveals.
The research was based on testing of 70 volunteers, with the Flinders ophthalmology
and medical device
research institute experts taking a novel approach with optical coherence tomography
), a device already available in most optometric and all ophthalmic practices.
Dr. Stewart Lake, an eye specialists from Flinders University told Thailand Medical
News via a phone interview, "Our research uses the OCT
and finds irregularities at this scale that correlate with the size of the eye
, and therefore the degree of myopia
. This may help monitor, measure, and explore the effects of myopia
and how it leads to vision loss."
Dr Lake added that further development could make the system suitable for use in regular clinical practice.
Past research elsewhere with MRI scanning has demonstrated large scale irregularities in the eyeball in highly myopic eyes.
Optical coherence tomography
can sample the shape of the eye
on a much smaller scale than MRI. The OCT
testing will be far cheaper, is more readily available and repeatable as a test, researchers say in the article.
Short or near-sightedness (myopia
) is for many an inconvenience requiring glasses or contact lens to correct. However, globally it is an epidemic and a major cause of vision loss and sometimes blindness.
Short sightedness (myopia
) is defined practically by the strength of lens required to correct eyesight. It was already known myopia
relates very strongly to the size/length of the eye
Worldwide estimates forecast up to 5 billion people will have myopia
and 1 billion people could suffer with high myopia
by 2050, placing a significant burden on health systems to manage and prevent myopia
-related ocular complications and vision loss.
This major seven-fold increase, between 2000 and 2050, would make myopia
the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide (source: Holden et al 'Global Myopia Trends 2000-2050').
Typically, high myopia
increases the risk of pathological ocular changes such as cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration, all of which cause irreversible vision loss
Reference: Stewart Lake et al. The correlation between optical coherence tomography retinal shape irregularity and axial length, PLOS ONE (2019). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227207