The effects of myopia on visual function and the long-term risks of ocular health complications are well-documented.1 Yet the influence myopia can have on quality of life and psychosocial functioning is often overlooked. As an increasing number of children and adolescents develop myopia,2 it is important to consider all of the burdens associated with myopia in order to better treat and support patients.
From the time it develops, myopia can influence day-to-day life in a variety of ways. It is not uncommon for children who wear spectacles to experience teasing and social stigma,3 and this may lead to some parents hesitating to seek correction (spectacles) for their children.4 There are reports that myopia may be associated with lower self-esteem, particularly among children with more visual symptoms, such as tired eyes.5
The social pressure against wearing spectacles may be related to the higher incidence of high level trait anxiety observed among young adolescents with myopia compared to their emmetropic peers.6 Even with adequate correction, myopic adolescents still score lower on almost all scales of vision-related quality of life compared to their non-myopic peers.7
The psychosocial impact of myopia continues into adulthood even in the absence of more serious comorbidities. Adults with refractive error have reported a variety of concerns, including worries about their ocular health, the financial burden of corrective devices (e.g., glasses) and procedures, and interference with certain physical, recreational, and everyday activities. A variety of other impacts, such as on career choice or ability to perform at work, have also been reported.8
It is clear that myopia impacts the day-to-day lives of children, adolescents, and adults even when it is corrected properly and is not associated with other pathologies. In the effort to combat myopia, it is important to recognize that the consequences of this condition go beyond visual function and ocular health.
At Dopavision, we hope to reduce the burden associated with treating myopia by developing a fun game-based digital therapeutic designed specifically for children. Our ambition is to provide an easy-to-use treatment that can be easily incorporated in the daily routine of children and their parents while slowing the progression of myopia. For this purpose, we will be launching a clinical trial to investigate our digital myopia therapeutic.
¹Saw, S.M., Gazzard, G., Shih‐Yen, E.C., & Chua, W. H. (2005). Myopia and associated pathological complications. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 25(5),381-391.
²Dolgin, E. (2015). The myopia boom. Nature News, 519(7543), 276.
³Congdon, N., Burnett, A., & Frick, K. (2019). The impact of uncorrected myopia on individuals and society. Community eye health, 32(105), 7.
4 Senthilkumar, D., Balasubramaniam, S.M., Kumaran, S. E., & Ramani, K. K. (2013). Parents’ awareness and perception of children’s eye diseases in Chennai, India. Optometry and Vision Science, 90(12), 1462-1466.
5 Dias, L., Manny, R. E., Hyman, L., Fern, K., & COMET GROUP. (2002). The relationship between self-esteem of myopic children and ocular and demographic characteristics. Optometry and vision science, 79(11), 688-696.
6Łazarczyk, J.B., Urban, B., Konarzewska, B., Szulc, A., Bakunowicz-Łazarczyk, A., Żmudzka, E., … & Juszczyk-Zajkowska, K. (2016). The differences in level of trait anxiety among girls and boys aged 13–17 years with myopia and emmetropia. BMC ophthalmology, 16(1), 1-7.
7Zhu, Z., He, Y., Yang, J., Li, Q., Cheng, H., Zhong, L., … & Ling, S. (2021). Study time, glasses utilization and age affect quality of life among senior first-year Chinese myopia students. European Journal of Ophthalmology, 1120672120982528.
8 Kandel, H., Khadka, J., Goggin, M., & Pesudovs, K. (2017). Impact of refractive error on quality of life: a qualitative study. Clinical & experimental ophthalmology, 45(7), 677-688.