Nearsightedness

(Myopia)
  • Definition

    People with nearsightedness, or myopia, usually have difficulty seeing far objects. In severe cases, they can have trouble seeing objects both far and near.
    Myopia
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  • Causes

    Nearsightedness is a type of refractive error, which means the shape of the eye does not bend light correctly, so images are blurred. This usually occurs with an eyeball that is longer or a cornea that is steeper than normal.
  • Risk Factors

    Nearsightedness is more likely to occur in people who have family members with the same condition.
    Although the evidence is conflicting, some specialists believe that chronic near work, such as prolonged periods of reading or the daily use of a computer may also increase your chance of developing nearsightedness.
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Blurred vision of distant objects
    • Squinting
    • Headaches
    • Eyestrain
  • Diagnosis

    A vision specialist will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will be given an eye exam and checked to see if prescription lenses will help improve your vision.
  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:
    Corrective Lenses
    Nearsightedness can be treated using corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your doctor will see you at regular intervals to assess your vision and determine if your corrective lenses prescription needs to change.
    Refractive Surgery
    If you elect to undergo the procedure, certain forms of nearsightedness may be treated with refractive surgery. The surgeries used to treat nearsightedness focus on changing the corneas shape to increase the eye's ability to focus. Many of these procedures are done using lasers.
    Corneal Refractive Therapy
    Corneal refractive therapy, also called orthokeratology, uses a series of hard contact lenses to flatten the cornea over time. When the contact lenses are worn, they eliminate the nearsightedness. However, it is not a permanent solution. If you stop using the contact lenses, the nearsightedness returns as the cornea returns to its original shape.
    Intraocular Lens
    In some situations, removing your native lens and possibly replacing it with an intraocular lens can help treat nearsightedness.
  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent nearsightedness.
  • RESOURCES

    American Academy of Ophthalmology http://www.aao.org

    National Eye Institute http://www.nei.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Association of Optometrists http://www.opto.ca

    Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.eyesite.ca

    References

    Durrie DS, Vande Garde TL. LASIK enhancements. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 2000; 40:103.

    Gimbel HV, Penno EE, et al. Incidence and management of intraoperative and early postoperative complications in 1000 consecutive laser in situ keratomileusis cases. Ophthalmology. 1998;105:1839.

    Myopia (nearsightedness). American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/myopia. Accessed July 11, 2013.

    Nearsightedness: Myopia treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/myopia-treatment.cfm. Accessed July 11, 2013.

    Shortt AJ, Bunce C, Allan BD. Evidence for superior efficacy and safety of LASIK over photorefractive keratectomy for correction of myopia (Review). Ophthalmology. 2006 Nov;113(11):1897-908.

    Yoo SH, Azar DT. Laser in situ keratomileusis for the treatment of myopia. Int Ophthalmol Clin.1999;39:37.

    Revision Information

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