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Myopia: What is Nearsightedness and How is It Treated

Posted on February 2nd, 2021

If you have trouble seeing things that are far away, but have no problem concentrating on objects up close, you might have nearsightedness, or myopia. It is estimated that by the year 2050, approximately half of our planet’s population will be myopic.

One misconception is that myopia is a disease. Conversely, myopia is a common eye condition wherein your eyes do not focus well on items at a distance.

Symptoms begin in childhood and continue to develop in until late teens or early twenties. Nearsightedness may progress in adults due to some health conditions such as diabetes. This condition is called adult-onset myopia.

What to Expect at the Onset of Myopia

The most prevalent manifestation of myopia is the inability to perceive objects clearly from afar. Symptoms include trouble watching TV, reading road signs, playing sports, or discerning moving objects – such as people approaching from a distance. For individuals experiencing this condition, close up tasks such as computer work or reading present no issues.

Eye strain and squinting are symptoms patients are advised to look for in children and in themselves. These behaviours, while potentially disregarded as innocuous by a sufferer, often cause headaches, irritation, and dry eyes. One atypical indicator of myopia that is worth mentioning to your doctor is fatigue while driving; this poses a direct risk to your safety.

Known Causes and Risks of Developing Myopia

Myopia is caused by two things: the length of your eyeball or the curvature of the cornea. When the two overlap, the result is a stronger prescription. Structurally, myopic eyes are longer than non-myopic eyes, but look indistinguishable on the outside.

The exact reason for myopia is unknown. It is argued that it is partially due to genetics. If both parents suffer from nearsightedness, there is a higher risk of a child inheriting the condition. That said, the development of the myopia is also shown to depend on how a growing individual behaves. People who spend a lot of time reading, working at a computer, or perform any close visual work are more likely to develop the condition. In children, lack of time spent outside suggests a greater risk in development of myopia. Learn about some of the eye-health benefits of children getting outside, on our blog.

Did You Know: "pseudo” myopia is a real condition that mimics the symptoms of myopia in people who do a lot of close-up and detail-oriented work. After long periods, the eyes can’t refocus clearly and see into the distance. You will notice that if you rest the eyes, your vision may start to return to normal. Be mindful that constant close-up work over a long period of time may lead to some permanent visual reduction.

Which Treatment for Myopia is Right for You?

It is best to make an appointment and have a professional diagnose and offer a treatment plan and proper options for your eye health when it comes to myopia. Therapy can be performed to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, such as vision traininor low-dose atropine drops. The most common treatments for regaining distance vision clarity are corrective lenses and contact lenses. These options offer immediate results.

Orthokeratology (known as corneal refracture therapy), and laser surgery may also be viable options for those who may wish explore alternatives to traditional corrective lenses. Check with your optometrist at Visique to decide which treatment is right for you to regain long distance vision. Learn more about orthokeratology and its benefits here.

For more information on myopia and treatments available, find a Visique location near you.