Severe myopia (nearsightedness) can lead to other, more serious eye disorders in some people. Ophthalmologists are interested in understanding the factors that make some patients more susceptible to these disorders and related vision loss. Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, MD, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and her colleagues studied severely myopic patients over time, and found that in 40 percent of them a condition known as myopic maculopathy became significantly worse.
The macula is the part of the eye that provides clear, detailed vision. In this subset of patients, the types and patterns of abnormalities that developed in the macula were found to influence the extent to which vision would be affected.
Dr. Ohno-Matsui's study is the first to specifically describe the relationships between the disease pattern and vision loss, and this knowledge could help Eye M.D.s determine which myopic patients to follow most closely and the best treatments to use.
The researchers analyzed medical records of 429 hospital patients (802 eyes) who received comprehensive eye exams, including vision testing and specific myopia-tracking tests, at least once a year. Study patients were followed for 12 years, on average.
"Our findings suggest that a patient's age, degree of nearsightedness, eye (axial) length and a specific abnormal bulging of the back surface of the eye (a posterior staphyloma) may be important factors that affect the severity of myopic maculopathy," Dr. Ohno-Matsui said. "Also, our results show that in eyes that are likely to progress to serious disease, the first observable sign may be a tessellated fundus (a specific abnormality in the macula)," she added.
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