Asthenopia is more commonly known as eye strain but technically, eye strain is just one of the many symptoms to describe asthenopia. Others include tired eyes, irritations, redness, blurred vision, and even double vision. Most get asthenopia from increased phone or computer usage due to their work or simply because it’s their past time. But today we’ll talk about getting asthenopia as a side effect of myopic degenerative surgery.
What is Myopic Degeneration?
Myopic Degeneration is a condition much more severe than other types of nearsightedness and it affects both retina and macula. The progress is rapid and could cause severe loss of vision as well as retinal detachment.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, myopic degeneration is simply not something you acquire since people who have this disease are believed to have inherited them and is present since birth. Despite being present at birth; the disease manifests itself during the pre-teen years. It is also the seventh cause of legal blindness in the US, affecting roughly 2% of the population.
- Headaches due to severe eye strain and caused by squinting to see better.
- Formation of cataracts
- Loss of vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye floaters which can be treated by hyaluronic acid supplements.
As you may have noticed, symptoms of myopic degeneration closely resemble age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Both myopic degeneration and AMD result in loss of vision caused by retinal detachment which is due to the abnormal elongation of the eyeball. This abnormal elongation occurs due to severe myopia and the repeated stretching and thinning damages the macula, the retina, and the rest of the eye tissue which all result to blurred vision.
Surgery and Asthenopia
One of the best ways to combat myopic degeneration is through surgery and one of them is through a procedure we call Scleral Buckling.
Scleral Buckling is a surgical procedure used as treatment to retinal detachment and works by flattening and closing the breaks in the retina. The scleral buckle itself could be a silicone sponge, rubber, or a semi-hard plastic material and is placed on your sclera. This is then sewn in place to keep the eye from elongating abnormally.
The problem arises during aftercare immediately after the surgery. As with any form of surgery, there is immediate pain around the area of the eye. Sometimes even rolling the eyes sideways or up and down can cause pain or discomfort. This is where surgically-induced asthenopia happens as the eyes have just been through surgery and they are sensitive enough to feel pain from the slightest eye strain.
This is believed to be due to the increased eye pressure after surgery. While this would normally subside, some patients still report a bit of pain even after a few months or even years! The immediate treatment seems to be taking pain medications or actually having the buckles removed.
Either way, the results you have would vary so it’s best to consult your ophthalmologist for the best advice.