About Nearsightedness

What is Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition that affects millions of children and adults and has been on the rise in the United States in recent decades. It is the most common of refractive errors—or imperfections of the eye—in which objects nearby can be seen clearly, while those at a distance appear blurry.

Many families have passed on myopia for generations, but some eye care professionals believe that increased computer use and eye fatigue, along with heredity, may be affecting the pace today. Although the true cause is unknown, myopia generally happens when the eyeball is too long. It may also occur when the lens or the cornea, the domed front of the eye, is too curved. These shape irregularities do not allow the eye to focus the entering light rays at the proper point.

Nearsightedness Symptoms

The most typical behavior of nearsighted people is often seen at school when they have trouble reading the blackboard, or out and about, when they cannot make out faraway signs. They may be fine looking at close-up objects—like a computer screen or phone—but have trouble watching TV. The most common symptoms and signs associated with myopia are:

  • blurred vision at far distances
  • squinting
  • headaches
  • eyestrain
  • fatigue after driving or playing sports

Nearsightedness cannot be prevented and it usually is diagnosed in children 8 to 12 years old. It can advance quickly in the teens, but in most cases it stops progressing on its own in early adulthood. Myopia can be low or high, and treatment options may be affected by the severity and the stage of life.

Nearsightedness and You

When myopia goes uncorrected, your performance and quality of life are affected. Poor far vision can disrupt the learning process for children and adults, as well as their enjoyment of sports, the outdoors and other forms of entertainment. Safety is compromised for drivers and for workers who need accurate vision or interact with machinery. Resulting headaches and eyestrain can also take their toll, so if you experience them see an eye care professional.

Once you both decide on treatment, nearsightedness can be effectively corrected with glasses, contact lenses or eye surgery. Soft contact lenses are a popular and comfortable choice for many people, and their flexible wearing times—daily, weekly or monthly—make them very convenient. Nearsightedness does not impact the health of the eye, except for people with severe myopia, who may be at a higher risk for glaucoma, and other serious conditions.

To learn more about nearsightedness, its symptoms and treatments, visit myeyes.com.


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