Degenerative myopia

Refractive errors, such as myopia or near-sightedness, is the leading cause of treatable blindness in the world. Refractive errors can be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, LASIK, etc. High myopia is near-sightedness measured by more than -6.00 diopters of lens power. Patient with high myopia are at risk for degenerative changes in two particular locations in the eye.

The first is the macula – patients may develop a degeneration similar to age-related macular degeneration in which spontaneous bleeding may occur underneath the retina. If left untreated, vision loss may ensue. Treatments include laser or anti-VEGF eye injections. Patients may also develop foveal schisis (splitting of the retinal cell layers) or a posterior staphyloma (outpouching of the eye wall).

The outer, or peripheral, retina is also commonly affected by high degrees of myopia. In myopia, the eyeball simply has grown too large and the retina stretches to accommodate this growth. Stretched, thinned areas of the retina are called lattice degeneration. These areas are an inherent spot of weakness and are prone to retinal holes, tears, and detachments especially during a typical posterior vitreous detachment (see PVD section for more information). Commonly, areas of lattice degeneration may require prophylactic laser treatment to reduce the chance of the formation of tears and subsequent retinal detachment.