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Risks Associated with High Myopia

Myopia population has reached 2.4 billion world-wide, almost one third of the world population. There are considerable public health concerns about this eye condition, especially for people with high myopia (over -5.00D). High myopia is associated with potentially blinding complications such as retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration.

Myopia is a problem that should not be overlooked. Patients with early onset of myopia and high myopia have little prospect of long term visual acuity. It is recommended that patients should have periodic reviews for various complications related to high myopia.

Myopic macular degeneration and retinal detachment

The highly myopic patients may be at an increased risk of retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration. Some studies have shown that the risk of retinal detachment rises with the increase of axial length. As eye ball elongation occurs, retinal pathological changes become more likely. These include myopic crescents, sub-retinal neovascularization, posterior staphyloma, retinal breaks, scarring and even retinal detachment.


High myopia patients are also at a greater risk of other vision threatening complications such as cataracts and open angle glaucoma. Although cataract is a disease associated with aging, patients with high myopia may develop cataracts considerably earlier than the rest of the population.


Open angle glaucoma is an eye disorder that leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve. It occurs when the pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. Patients with high myopia are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop glaucoma compared to the normal population.

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