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Everything You Need to Know about Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Thursday, April 24, 2014 @ 07:04 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Everything You Need to Know about Myopia (Nearsightedness)

One of the most common vision problems is myopia, or nearsightedness. The condition affects nearly 30 percent of the population, and it makes it hard to see any objects that are not close up. By learning more about this common vision problem, you can be alert to the signs and symptoms in case you begin to experience it. That knowledge will prepare you to get the treatment you need as quickly as possible so you can protect your vision.

Cause of Nearsightedness

Several things can cause nearsightedness. Axial myopia is caused by an increase in the length of the eye’s axis. Curvature myopia is caused by increased curvature in the eye, such as the cornea. It can also be caused by higher corneal strength. Index myopia is caused by variations in the ocular media.

Any changes in the shape of the eye or the power of any of its elements could lead to myopia. Sometimes, this is caused by genetics, and sometimes, it is caused by lifestyle factors. For example, high blood-glucose levels can lead to swelling around the lens, which can cause short-term myopia.

Performing a lot of work that requires close attention to detail – such as art work or long periods sitting in front of a computer – can contribute to myopia.

Simple myopia involves an eye that has an imbalance between its length and its optical power. Degenerative myopia is a progressive condition that gets worse over time, often a result of the aging process. Nocturnal myopia is nearsightedness brought on in low-lighting situations – though the person may be able to see perfectly well in the daytime or in well-lit areas. Night myopia may be exacerbated by the widening of the pupils, which lets light in and can cause abnormalities in vision.

Nearsightedness can also be brought on by spasms in certain muscles or by exposure to pharmaceutical medications.

Signs and Symptoms

Each person may experience a different degree of myopia, which can result in different symptoms. The exact type of myopia experienced can also influence the types of symptoms that are present.
Some of the common symptoms of nearsightedness include:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • The need to squint
  • Fatigue when looking at objects at a distance, such as when driving
  • Blurred vision when looking at objects at a distance

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by an optometrist. A qualified eye doctor can look for signs of myopia within your eye, such as:

  • The appearance of a tilted optic nerve
  • White sclera next to a line of pigmentation
  • Changes in the pigment of the retina
  • Subretinal hemorrhage

A thorough eye exam will be conducted to look for these and other signs of myopia. Your exam will also include a vision test, which should note blurred vision at a distance.


Many people understand that they are nearsighted just through the changes they notice in their vision when they are looking at objects up close and far away. However, for a formal diagnosis, you will need to get an eye exam from an experienced eye doctor.

The eye exam should include a typical vision test, as well as an inspection of your eyes using special tools. An autorefractor and phoropter should both be typically used to exam your eyes when nearsightedness is suspected.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for myopia primarily involves wearing corrective eyeglass or contact lenses. Eyeglasses are the more common choice since they can be easily removed when looking at items close up (when vision correction is not needed). However, some experts believe that wearing glasses can make nearsightedness worse since they make the eyes dependent on assistance.

Refractive surgery is also available to correct myopia. Surgery may correct the shape or the function of the cornea or other elements of the eye. A lens implant may also help to flatten the cornea to help treat nearsightedness.

Surgery may also help to slow the progression of myopia in degenerative cases. The exact kind of surgery required depends on the type of myopia experienced, as well as the severity. Working with an eye doctor experienced in treating myopia can help you to explore all the potential treatments, including surgery, available to address your nearsightedness.

Alternative medical treatments, such as relaxation strategies and eye exercises, have also been reported to have some positive effects on treating nearsightedness.

There is no way to prevent myopia. Though getting the right treatment or even practicing alternative therapies has been shown to have some positive effect on nearsightedness, no treatments have been shown to prevent the condition. Generally, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to encourage good vision overall. However, there are no guarantees that any lifestyle choices will prevent poor vision, and no dietary or lifestyle measures have been shown to impact nearsightedness in particular.

Nearsightedness certainly isn’t a life-changing condition (unless, maybe, if you are a pilot or dream to become a pilot), but it is surely a problematic condition. Without the right treatment, you could experience problems driving, playing sports or participating in other essential activities that require you to see at a distance. Learning what you can about nearsightedness will help you to recognize the signs and symptoms of the condition earlier so that you can get the treatment you need and start enjoying the activities that you love again. With the right treatment, you may even be able to slow progression of the condition.


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