Myopia (Shortsightedness): What Does it Mean?

29th May 2023

Have you ever struggled to read the distant letters on a sign or found yourself squinting to make out the details of a faraway object? If so, you might have a condition called myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness. Affecting millions of people worldwide, myopia has become increasingly prevalent in today’s modern world. This blog will tell you all you need to know about the intricacies of myopia, its causes, symptoms, management, and the importance of proactive eye care. So, whether you’re seeking answers or are simply curious about this common visual impairment, keep reading to gain a clearer understanding of myopia and the strategies to combat its effects.

Definition and Causes

Myopia, also known as near- or shortsightedness, is an error of the eye that affects the ability to see distant objects clearly. When someone has myopia, the eyeball is usually slightly longer than normal or the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) is more curved than it should be. As a result, light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina causing blurry vision when looking at objects in the distance. Close-up objects are usually seen clearly, however.

While the exact causes of myopia are not yet fully understood, both genetic and environmental factors are believed to contribute to its development. As myopia runs in families, there is a higher likelihood that you would’ve either inherited it from your parents or your children from you. Certain genetic variations may affect the growth and shape of the eye, increasing the risk of myopia.

Environmental factors during childhood and adolescence can also influence the development and progression of myopia. Prolonged near work, lack of outdoor time or visual stress are among such influences.

Signs and Symptoms

Blurred Distance Vision: The most common and noticeable symptom of myopia is blurred vision when looking at objects in the distance. Distant objects, such as road signs, movie screens, or chalkboards, appear fuzzy or unclear, making it difficult to see details or read text.

Squinting: People with myopia often instinctively squint their eyes in an attempt to improve their vision. Squinting temporarily changes the shape of the eye, allowing light to focus more accurately on the retina and potentially enhancing visual clarity.

Eye Strain and Fatigue: Myopia can lead to eye strain and fatigue, especially after prolonged periods of focusing on distant objects. The extra effort exerted by the eyes to try and bring distant objects into focus can cause discomfort, eye fatigue, headaches, or even pain around the eyes.

Difficulty Seeing at Night: Many individuals with myopia experience difficulties with night vision or in low-light conditions. Lights may appear more glaring or have halos around them, making it challenging to see clearly while driving at night or in dimly lit environments.

Diagnosis and Eye Exam

Only with a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, can myopia be diagnosed. The process begins with a visual acuity test to assess your ability to see clearly at various distances followed by a refraction test to determine the exact degree of your myopia. After this, the eye doctor presents different lenses to determine the prescription for corrective lenses.

A retinal examination as well as a measurement of eye length and shape may also be conducted to evaluate the health of the back of the eye and assess the severity of myopia. Regular eye exams are advised for anyone that suffers from myopia to ensure an accurate prescription for corrective lenses.

Treatment Options and Prevention

There are a number of treatment options that are successful in treating myopia. Your prescription for glasses or contact lenses to correct myopia is a negative number, such as -1.00 and the stronger the corrective need is, the higher the number will be.

Glasses: A popular and effective way to correct myopia are glasses. Prescription glasses contain lenses with the appropriate refractive power to compensate for the refractive error in your eyes. Glasses come in different styles and colours and can also be needed for different ventures. If you suffer from strong nearsightedness you’ll have to wear glasses all the time while mild myopia only requires you to wear glasses when you’re driving.

Contact Lenses: With contact lenses, you might benefit from a wider field of view than with glasses. However, more care is needed to keep them clean and thus maintain good eye health.

Refractive Surgery: A more permanent solution for myopia can be achieved with refractive surgery. The initial refractive error can be removed by reshaping the cornea to permanently improve its focusing ability. The most common types of refractive surgeries for myopia include LASIK and PRK, both utilising a laser to precisely remove corneal tissue and adjust the cornea’s refractive power.

Conclusion

Myopia or nearsightedness is a complex condition influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Looking out for your eye health and going to regular eye examinations are both crucial in managing myopia and preventing its progression. If you’re looking for the perfect glasses to start your new journey with myopia, you can find a vast range at Glasses2You.

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