Emotional and Financial Implications of Untreated Myopia

Myopia, or more commonly known as nearsightedness, is the most common human eye focusing disorder. Nearsightedness affects as many as 60 percent of young adults in the U.S., and up to 80 to 90 percent of school-age children in East Asia.

Myopia is a refractive error which means that the eye does not bend or refract properly because of the eyeball is too elongated or the cornea is too curved, thus preventing it from seeing distant images clearly.

invisalens - Untreated Myopia1

Among children, early signs of myopia can be spotted when kids:

  • Need to sit closer to the blackboard or to the TV screen
  • Hold books very close to the face while reading
  • Do not notice movement in distant objects
  • Blink excessively
  • Rub the eyes frequently

The most common symptoms of myopia include:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Difficulty seeing distant objects (like road signs or billboards)

Once these symptoms manifest, it is crucial to immediately set an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the situation and review treatment options. Untreated myopia can progress to severe and irreversible eye issues that can permanently affect one’s life.

Eye health complications

According to the official website of the Singapore Health Promotion Board, myopia, when unchecked can, progress into one of the following more complex eye problems:

Retinal detachment: The retina becomes separated from the eyeball, and this can eventually lead to blindness.

Glaucoma: There is increased pressure within the eyeball and the optic nerve can become damaged, leading to blindness.

Macular degeneration: The central part of the retina, which is responsible for providing the clearest vision, degenerates, also leading to blindness. Symptoms include dark patches in vision and visual distortion.

Amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’: One eye, considered the ‘weaker’ one, does not develop as well as the other ‘stronger’ eye so the former has reduced vision.

Cataract: This is the clouding of the lens in the eye which results in blurred vision.

Lattice degeneration: Lattice degeneration happens when thinning develops at the edge of the retina. It can increase the risk of retinal detachment.

Lacquer cracks: Lacquer cracks are the fine lines or breaks that appear on the retina as a result of the eye stretching.

Development of new vessels: This is known as choroidal neovascularisation (CNV). This happens when new blood vessels grow from the blood supply under the retina. Because they are weak and fragile, these blood vessels can bleed easily and cause damage and swelling to the retina. If the new blood vessels develop at the central part of the retina (called myopic maculopathy), it can affect the central and color vision, making it difficult to see people’s faces and distorting straight lines.

Emotional implications

A person with myopia will experience varied levels of struggle with daily physical activities such as driving, navigating the road or even walking. Sporting activities such as swimming or hiking will also be doubly difficult.

For those whose jobs require or rely heavily on clear vision, myopia can certainly be a major obstacle. Imagine a police man struggling to physically defend himself or other people due to blurred vision. Or an office worker who has no choice but to be in front of a computer daily and risk aggravating the ill effects of myopia.

Make no doubt about it—myopia can impair a person’s safety and reduce the quality of one’s life. Limited vision can affect a person’s ability to perform a task in the best possible way and can jeopardize safety in precarious situations.

These inevitable effects of untreated myopia can eventually lead to problems in: A person with myopia will experience varied levels of struggle with daily physical activities such as driving, navigating the road or even walking. Sporting activities such as swimming or hiking will also be doubly difficult.

For those whose jobs require or rely heavily on clear vision, myopia can certainly be a major obstacle.

invisalens - Untreated Myopia2

Imagine a police man struggling to physically defend himself or other people due to blurred vision. Or an office worker who has no choice but to be in front of a computer daily and risk aggravating the ill effects of myopia.

Make no doubt about it—myopia can impair a person’s safety and reduce the quality of one’s life. Limited vision can affect a person’s ability to perform a task in the best possible way and can jeopardize safety in precarious situations.

These inevitable effects of untreated myopia can eventually lead to problems in:

Low self esteem: Children with myopia are particularly vulnerable to developing low self esteem likely triggered by factors such as learning performance, academic achievement and social isolation (bullying and inability to participate in school activities due to limited vision).

Anxiety: People with untreated myopia tend to develop suppressed fear because of what they may be missing out, in turn leading to constantly being anxious, worrisome and overly perfectionist. One vision resource site noted that myopes, referring to people with myopia, are “often introverts who enjoy close, detailed, and academic work and are usually left-brain dominant.”

invisalens - Untreated Myopia3

invisalens - Untreated Myopia3

Low productivity: Limited vision can affect a person’s ability to perform a task or a job in the most effective way possible. This, in turn, can lead to low productivity and under-performance in an academic or professional setting.

Psychological childhood stress: An article by two PhD scholars, Louise Katz and Kristoffer S. Berlin, found links between myopia development and psychological stress. Their study found that myopes significantly scored higher on the Stress-Fear-Abuse scale, and were more likely to have had lower self-esteem, were physically heavier or bigger, and experienced more criticism about physical aspects during their childhood, thus leading to more fearful or stressful situations.

Financial implications

As earlier noted, if myopia continues to remain unchecked and consequently, untreated, it can progress into more serious eye problems that, naturally, cost more to treat or manage.

invisalens - Untreated Myopia5

In the case of cataracts, an online report by AllAboutVision.com found that cataract surgery costs can cost more than $3,400 per eye on average if paid for privately.

Glaucoma treatment costs, on the other hand, vary but the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that treatment costs can range from $150 to $1,080. The Healthcare Blue Book also estimated that laser surgery for glaucoma can cost up to $4,900 if performed in a hospital.

For retinal detachment surgeries, the average cost is upwards of $5,000 to $10,000 per eye, including only doctors’ and hospital’s fees.

For other vision complications caused by myopia, laser eye surgery is a common recourse for treatment, and the average cost in 2014 was over $2,100 per eye, according to AllAboutVision.com. As expected, the cost increases year on year, given the new medical technology advancements used by eye care professionals.

It is important to note that these cost estimations often do not include other related expenses such as pre-surgery consultations and medications. The cost may also vary depending on the insurance coverage, or lack thereof, of the patient.

Conclusion

Myopia is a common vision disorder that can be managed with early intervention, professional advice and proper treatment. People with myopia have an option to opt for corrective lens, laser surgery or orthokeratology (also known as corrective overnight lens).

The worst thing that a myopic person can do is to ignore the symptoms and leave it untreated. Inevitably, the ill effects of myopia will catch up and leave permanent damage to the eyes.


You can stop imagining the possibilities and actually live it.

Click the button below and let’s get started on getting back that 20/20 Vision.

LET’S GET STARTED

invisalens-inner