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Myopia


What is Myopia?

Myopia most commonly known as nearsightedness, is the most common refractive error of the eye, and it has become more prevalent in recent years. As the name implies, people who are nearsighted can clearly see objects that are close to them, but have difficulty seeing objects that are far away. Myopia can affect people of all ages.

Both children and adults can be nearsighted, but it is normally first diagnosed in school-aged children. Nearsightedness tends to typically progress until about age 20, as the eye continues to grow during this time. The condition levels off and generally stabilizes in adulthood.

People with myopia can have difficulty in seeing a movie, TV screen or the whiteboard in school. But they can typically read a book or see computer screen easily . Many eye doctors feel it has something to do with eye fatigue from computer use and other extended near vision tasks, coupled with a genetic predisposition for myopia.

Most common signs and symptoms of Myopia are:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent squinting
  • Feeling fatigued when driving
  • Have difficulty reading road signs but can easily foucs in reading books
  • Difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is caused by a refractive error in the eyes. In a case of myopia, light rays bend incorrectly into the eye to transmit images to the brain. After entering the eye instead of focusing on the retina directly, the light lands in front of it causing blurred vision. This happens if the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, so the light entering the eye is not focused correctly.

Though till today the exact cause of myopia is not known, there is significant evidence available to prove that many people inherit myopia. If any of the parent is nearsighted, the chances of children having myopia are very high.

Many eye doctors feel that coupled with a family history, myopia can even be caused by eye fatigue from computer use and other intense close visual tasks or spending considerable time in up-close reading.

How is Myopia diagnosed?

Your doctor will determine if you have myopia by using a standard vision test, in which you will be asked to read letters on a distance chart placed 20 feet away which is a standard distance for testing. This test measures visual acuity.

If the test shows that you are farsightednesss then your doctor will perform comprehensive eye exam by using certain test devices to learn what is causing the myopia. By shining a special light into your eyes, a retinoscope will be used to see how light reflects off your retina.

Your doctor will also use a phoropter, an instrument that measures the amount of refractive error you have and helps determine the power of any optical lenses needed to correct the reduced vision.

This testing can be conducted without using eye drops to determine how the eyes respond under normal seeing conditions.

Treatment for Myopia:

Myopia is very treatable, with nearly every person diagnosed with the condition receiving a measurable improvement in vision. Common types of myopia treatment include:

  • For most people with myopia, Eyeglasses are the primary choice for correction. Corrective lenses refract the light entering the eye in a way that places a focused image accurately onto the retina. Corrective lenses for myopia have negative powers. Depending on the amount of myopia, you may only need to wear glasses for certain activities, like watching a movie or driving a car.

  • Contact lenses which refocus light onto the retina, offer clearer vision than eyeglasses. However, since they are worn directly on the eyes, they need extra care.

  • Lasik is the most common refractive procedure, a thin flap is created on the surface of the cornea, a laser removes some corneal tissue and then the flap is returned to its original position.

  • Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure available to treat myopia. It uses a series of hard contact lenses to gradually flatten the cornea and reduce the refractive error. You need to wear while you sleep. When you remove the lenses in the morning, your cornea temporarily retains the new shape, so you can see clearly during the day without glasses or contact lenses. Improvement of sight from orthokeratology is temporary.