Also known as nearsightedness, myopia is a refractive error that causes distant objects to appear blurry. Myopia is a progressive visual disorder that may worsen over time.
In addition to causing weakened vision, myopia may alter the physical structure of the eye. By doing so, the patient has an increased risk of future eye disease. Moderate to high myopic patients are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.
Nearsightedness has different degrees of severity. Severe myopia may result in both distant and close objects to be blurry. High myopia may cause thinning and weakening of the retina. This should not be taken lightly as a detached retina can lead to blindness.
Myopia is caused by a refractive error. This means that incoming light rays are bent incorrectly. This can be the result of an eyeball that is too long, or an improperly shaped cornea curvature. Myopic eyes focus light rays of images in front of the retina opposed to directly on it.
It is possible that myopia can be inherited. It is more commonly noticed during childhood when the eye is growing rapidly. With age, the condition may plateau or worsen.
Signs and Symptoms of Myopia
Nearsightedness symptoms may include:
Distant objects appear blurry
The need to squint in order to focus objects
Symptoms of myopia are much like those of other refractive errors. With that being said, it is important to schedule an eye examination after experiencing any changes in vision. Our Optometrist is equipped to provide a full diagnosis of any eye related problem you may be experiencing.
How is Myopia Diagnosed?
Our Optometrist will use a standard vision test during an eye examination to determine whether or not you are nearsighted. The test consists of reading numbers off a chart located at the other end of the room.
If the test concludes you are myopic, our Optometrist is equipped with certain instruments to locate the source of your refractive error. A retinoscope is used to observe how light reflects off your retina, followed by a phoropter to measure how much refractive error is present.
Following a diagnosis, our Optometrist will be able to discuss treatment options that best suit your needs. The most common form of treatment are prescribed lenses. Both eyeglasses and contact lenses work to help correct your myopia.
The lenses use a negative power to refocus light rays on the retina. Both eyeglasses and contacts work the same, however, patients may prefer one option over the other due to lifestyles and preferences.
Aside from prescribed lenses, patients may choose refractive surgery4 (laser eye surgery) as treatment. The most common forms of refractive surgery used to correct myopia are LASIK and PRK. The procedures work by reshaping the cornea in order to reduce or completely eliminate the need for corrective lenses.