Some of the home remedies for myopia include eye exercises, a vitamin and mineral-rich diet, eating almonds, triphala, liquorice, ayurvedic medicines, as well as resting after long hours of reading and work. Some of the things to avoid while suffering from myopia are performing close range work, sitting in front of the TV and electronic devices for long periods of time, and working or reading in poorly lit areas.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is the scientific name given to nearsightedness. Nearsightedness is the condition where a person is not able to see objects clearly that are far away. Myopia is considered as a refractive type of error in the eye. The focus of distant objects falls in front of the retina, rather than on the surface of the retina, resulting in the inability to clearly see things that are beyond a certain distance.
According to an estimate by the American Optometric Association, about 30% of the population in the United States is affected by myopia. Research by many scientific communities suggests that myopia is genetic for many of the cases, and family connections of glasses wearers are commonly seen. However, there is new research suggesting that myopia can occur in people working on objects that are very close. In other words, people who constantly focus on things close to them can lose the ability to see things at a distance.
Research shows that under normal conditions, it is more difficult to focus on objects that are close than it is to focus on objects that are far away. This stress causes the eye to elongate gradually to allow for the eye to adjust itself to focus on objects that are near. This process will eventually make the eyes incapable of seeing things which lie at a distance. Scientifically, this process is called a ciliary muscle spasm, a condition in which the eye becomes elongated to accommodate for focusing on objects that are close.
Some ophthalmologists argue that myopia can be the root cause for permanent damage to the eye causing blindness in the long run. That being said, even in the short run, myopia can cause trouble. Children, particularly of school-going age, mostly face this problem, when they have to focus on writing on the black board. They complain of blurred vision or difficulty to see things that are at a distance and their studies can suffer, or they can develop headaches.
Symptoms of Myopia
Symptoms of myopia include
- Regular headaches
- Light sensitivity at nighttime
- Eye strain because of the pressure exerted while trying to focus
- Strained focus tends to cause a squint in the eyes
Types of Myopia
Some of the most common types of myopia include the following.
- Simple Myopia: Simple myopia is one of the most common types of myopia that is found. In this condition, the eye has become elongated.
- Nocturnal Myopia: Nocturnal myopia or night myopia is a condition in which a person’s eyes experience difficulty in seeing in low light conditions. However, their daytime vision can be normal. Night myopia commonly occurs because of pupil dilation and aberrations, thereby resulting in the myopic condition.
- Pseudomyopia: Pseudomyopia is another type of myopia associated with excessive close focusing on work. This is mostly seen in young people. A growing problem is happening with handheld video games, since children are spending more and more time focusing on those games that are very close, resulting in an increase in myopia.
- Degenerative myopia: As the name suggests, degenerative myopia becomes worse over time and is regarded as one of the predominant causes of blindness. It is also known as pathological myopia and can result in retinal detachment and glaucoma.
- Induced myopia: Induced myopia occurs due to exposure to medications, high levels of glucose in the body, or nuclear sclerosis. Usually, induced myopia can be reversed. However, if the exposure is continuous and happens for a long time, it can result in the condition becoming permanent.
Causes of Myopia
Some of the major causes of myopia include the following.
- Close Up Work: This is perhaps one of the most overlooked causes of myopia. Working on something at a very close range to the eyes is one of the major factors for an increased myopia risk. This was proven in a controlled experiment conducted in the United States in Alaska. In Alaska, there were hardly any cases of myopia before the introduction of compulsory education system. 10 years after the initiation of education system, there were reportedly 75% of myopic cases in children. Their illiterate parents and grandparents did not experience any symptoms of myopia on the other hand.
- Low Light Conditions: Working in the dark or in low light conditions is also one of the causes of myopia. Due to the lack of optimum light, the eyes have to exert pressure trying to focus on objects, especially reading. This extra effort can translate into myopia.
- Long Term Use of Corrective Lenses: Research conducted by the National Eye Institute in the United States indicates that myopic conditions can be aggravated by the use of corrective (minus) lenses for a long period of time.
- Diabetes: Type II Diabetes is also a contributing factor for eye diseases such as myopia. In diabetes, an excess amount of sugar in the blood hampers the flow of blood. In this case, the blood flows slowly through optical nerves. In other words, objects appear blurry to diabetic people, forcing them to exert their eyes to focus even more.
- Hereditary Factors: According to a study conducted at Ohio State University College of Optometry, heredity is also one of the important factors that contributes to myopia.
Home Remedies for Myopia
Myopia can be reduced by adopting a few home remedies or solutions, some of which are explained below.
- Eye Exercises: According to research conducted at the Ophthalmology Department, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand by Rawstron, Burley and Elder, eye exercises do have an effect on myopic conditions. Today, ophthalmologic doctors are recommending eye exercises along with medication and prescription glasses. Yoga is yet another source for eye exercises.
- Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises can also be taken up as home remedies for myopia. These breathing exercises can be done at home in a relaxed way. Close your eyes and inhale through you nose and exhale through your mouth in a steady and continuous manner for more than three minutes. Do not strain by trying to breathe in more air than feels natural.
- Take Vision Breaks: This is perhaps one of the best home remedies for myopia. Continuous reading, watching TV and working on a computer for long hours requires our eyes to focus at short distances and thus myopia can set in. In order to reduce the severity or appearance of myopia, one must take regular breaks from continuous reading, watching TV or working on the computer.
- Work in Adequately Lit Spaces: Working in low light conditions can have a serious affect on the sight of a person. When we work in low light conditions, we put extra stress on our eyes, which strains the muscles inside and tightens them up, resulting in myopia.
- Intake of Vitamins: The consumption of vitamins is a one of the major home remedies for myopia. Vitamins and eyesight have had a close relationship for a very long time. Vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin C have been associated with good eye sight. These vitamins are found in vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods like carrots, tomatoes, apples, peppers, fish, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, and are very beneficial.
- Triphala (Ayurvedic approach): Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system describes various ways to treat eye diseases. One such prescription for myopia is through Triphala or a mix of three fruit extracts. These include beleric, Indian gooseberry, and yellow myrobalan. Triphala is available in Ayurvedic medicine shops or the mix can be prepared at home from fresh fruits or their extracts.
- Kusuma Varthi Anjana (Ayurvedic approach): Kusuma Varthi Anajana is an Ayurvedic medicinal preparation used for the treatment of simple myopia. This contains sesamum flowers, long pepper, common jasmine, and black pepper. Mix all of these ingredients and mash them. Add water to this mash to make it into a paste and dry it in shade. This mixture can be taken twice a day to minimize the risk of myopia.
- Almond, coconut, anise seed and candy sugar: This is one of the simplest home remedies for myopia. Mix almond, coconut, anise seed and candy sugar and make them into a powder. This powder can be consumed twice daily. It is known to improve myopic conditions.
- Licorice: Licorice is another spice that is commonly used as a remedy for myopia. Take licorice in a very small quantity (not more than half a spoon) and mash it up. Make two equal parts, mix one in honey and the other in ghee. Consume these mixtures twice every day with milk. Take each mixture once.
Research has shown that myopia can be temporarily corrected with prescribed minus (concave) glasses. However, in the long run, myopia has been noted to progress due to this. As it progresses, it has to be countered with much more powerful prescription glasses or lenses.