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Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive error in the eye. If you are nearsighted, you have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly but are able to see well in shorter distances, such as reading a computer screen or book.

Myopia Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms generally include:

  • Headaches
  • Squinting your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Chronic eyestrain.

Feeling fatigued when focusing on longer distanced tasks such as playing a sport, driving , and reading signs can also be symptoms of myopia.

Causes & Risks of Myopia

Myopia is caused by a natural shape change to the eye, causing light that enters the eye to focus in front of the retina instead of on the surface.
Myopia can be genetically inherited by children of myopic adults. Having parents that have myopia can mean children will have higher risk of inheritance. In most cases, changes to vision will start between the ages of 6 and 12 before stabilizing in early adulthood. However, in some cases, it will continue to change with age.
In most cases, myopia is an inconvenience. Between the number of treatments available, there are generally few to no risk factors to the health of the eyes. In extreme cases of degenerative myopia, there are a percentage of sufferers who face deterioration to the point of legal blindness. Malignant or rapid onset myopia carries a risk of retinal detachment and other back of eye degenerative changes.

Myopia Treatments

Common treatment for myopia is prescription glasses or contact lenses. Some individuals who are nearsighted often can wear glasses or lenses just during the duration of an activity that requires clear distance vision. Refractive surgery is also gaining popularity since it is a fairly noninvasive procedure.
If you are concerned about myopia, its best to be assessed by our Optometrist. If you receive a prescription for eyeglasses or contacts, the first number or “Sphere” will reflect how nearsighted you are. The larger the (-) number, the more nearsighted you will be.
If you are wanting freedom from prescription glasses or contacts during the day, there are a few treatments possible. Orthokeratology is a non surgical option where you insert rigid contact lenses while you sleep that gradually reshape your cornea. When you remove the lenses your cornea will hold the learned shape so you can see clearly during the day without glasses or contacts.
If you are considering refractive surgery, there are two common procedures, both of which will correct any refractive errors:

  • PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) – The doctor will remove a layer of tissue from your cornea by laser. This will flatten the cornea and allow light to refocus properly on the retina, repairing any refractive errors.
  • LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) – The doctor will incise a thin flap on the surface of the cornea, a laser will remove the cornea tissue, and then the cornea is resealed correcting any refractive errors.

Written by Luis Marquez

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