Myopic Maceo-degenerative is a serious eye condition that can cause vision loss.

People who are very nearsighted are most likely to develop pathological myopia.

People who are nearsighted can see objects that are close but not as far away. It is sometimes referred to as shortsighted.

MMD isn’t the same as just being nearsighted and not being able to see faraway objects clearly, which is known as myopia.

Instead, MMD means there are degenerative changes happening in your eye, and these changes may not be treated with just glasses or contact lenses. In fact, it can lead to legal blindness if left untreated.

MMD can present other vision issues and how to treat it is something we should learn more about.

MMD occurs when your retina in the back of the eye slowly stretches out over time. This causes the eyeball to evolve from a circular ball shape into more of a football shape. The retina becomes thinner as it stretches, and as that happens, the part of the eye that allows you to see sharp details in the center of your vision (the macula) also stretches and becomes damaged.

It is more likely that you will develop a serious eye problem if you have blurry vision in the central part of your vision.

People with myopia experience an elongated eyeball, which can damage the retina and macula and cause distorted vision.
Illustration by Sophia Smith

While myopia itself is fairly common, MMD is less common, as it affects about 3 percent of people worldwide.

More studies are needed to determine the root causes of MMD, though researchers believe it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

There are some known risk factors for this condition.

  • High grade myopia. Any prescription strength higher than -6.0 is considered high grade, and people with a prescription strength over -10.0 are at an even higher risk.
  • Family. Both high grade myopia and MMD often run in families, and pathological myopia may sometimes be diagnosed in children.
  • Ethnicity. MMD is more commonly seen in Asia. An older 2009 research article indicates Chinese Americans are at a higher risk of developing the condition, and people with Japanese ancestry also have an increased risk.

You might not notice any symptoms until after a while.

You may not notice any symptoms until the condition progresses slowly. Symptoms may include:

  • distorted vision
  • Your vision has wavy lines.
  • Gradually worsening vision.
  • There are blank spots in your vision.
  • Difficult to adjust to light.
  • Difficult to see shades of color.
  • “It’s hard to see in dim light.”

Some symptoms of the condition are hard to distinguish from everyday visual difficulties, because they are usually in people with high grade myopia.

It is important to visit an eye doctor at least once a year for an eye exam and to reach out to a doctor if you have any concerns about your vision.

While this condition is similar to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in some ways, they are not the same.

The two conditions share many of the same symptoms and can cause vision decline. Both are linked to the gradual wearing down of your eyes’ maculae.

Genetics and high grade myopia are linked to MMD, while age is related to the two. It starts at a younger age than the more common form of the disease, called Age Related Myeloma.

Multiple eye problems can be caused by myopic macular degeneration. Some of the problems need immediate treatment. Complications can include:

  • Retinal atrophy. When your retina stretches as a result of myopic retinal degeneration, it can cause your retina to become thinner. Over time, this can cause your retina to atrophy, or break down. Retinal atrophy can damage your vision.
  • Detached retina. Retinal stretching can lead to retinal tearing and detachment. Symptoms of retinal detachment include sudden flashes of light in your eyes and seeing dark “floaters” in your vision.
  • Lacquer cracks. Stretching can cause breaks in your macula and in a layer of your eye called Bruch’s membrane. These cracks are called lacquer cracks.
  • Choroidal neovascularization. Lacquer cracks and retinal atrophy leave open areas in your eye. Sometimes, thin and fragile new blood vessels grow into these spaces. This is known as choroidal neovascularization (CNV), and it can lead to scarring and vision loss. As many as 10 percent of people with MMD develop this CNV complication, and it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States for those 50 years and older.

An annual vision exam can help you detect and treat any problems before they become emergencies.

There is no cure for this eye condition, but if you are not experiencing vision loss, you can wear glasses or contact lens to address nearsightedness. It is easier to see by focusing the light on your eye.

You might need treatment for some MMD issues.

MMD generally can’t be treated with laser vision surgery.

It’s important to have regular eye appointments if you have macular myopic degeneration. It’s also best to let your eye care team know about any changes to your vision as soon as possible.

Myopic Mace is a serious form of nearsightedness that gets worse over time.

Legal blindness can be caused by it, as well as severe consequences such as choroidal neovascularization.

There is no cure for MMD, but many people can use glasses and contacts to help their vision, even though this doesn’t address the underlying condition. Additionally, some complications of the condition can be treated if they are caught early.

It’s very important to have regular eye appointments, especially if you have high grade myopia or myopic macular degeneration. Having regular appointments can help your doctor catch and treat any complications or eye health issues before they become severe.