What is Nearsighted and Myopia?

by Nov 11, 2020

If you find your vision is blurrier in the distance than up close and require glasses to see well far away then you likely have nearsightedness, or myopia. This means either that your eyeball is too long for its refractive surfaces or that it is too powerful in how it bends light rays to focus on your retina at the back of the eye, requiring a minus prescription to facilitate clear vision.

This is the opposite of farsightedness or hyperopia, where the eye is too small or too weak in its refractive power and requires a plus prescription to boost power. Below is explained how myopia develops, how it is treated, and how further progression of it can be decreased.


Lifestyle and Development

There are certain risk factors for developing myopia in the first place and for its further progression. Many of these are still under study and their exact mechanisms are not known.

More outside time in childhood is associated with delayed onset of myopia and therefore a lower prescription later in life. Lots of near work, high educational level, and urban living are also associated with higher myopia.

Genetics, of course, also play a role, with parental myopia being a risk factor for nearsightedness development in children.

As the eye grows throughout childhood and adolescence, a number of intricate changes to its structures must take place for light to focus on the retina and vision to remain clear.

In addition to the risk factors above, other events like an eye being deprived of clear vision, either by not correcting its refractive error adequately (not wearing glasses of the right prescription) or by wearing glasses that are far too strong.

The sooner myopia develops in children, the higher the prescription becomes into adulthood, and this is important because very high myopia means that the eye is very long. This shape can stretch the retina at the back of the eye, leading to conditions in adulthood like retinal breaks and detachments and cracks in the structural tissues at the back of the eye.


Nearsighted Correction with Glasses and Contact Lenses

Glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgeries are primary means of correcting myopia so that one can see clearly. Some of these options are objectively better for some people than others based on magnitude of prescription, age, lifestyle, etc. while some are up for whatever you like best.

Glasses are convenient in that they require no surgery or extra hygiene, and they are not risky for any further complications. They may be annoying for certain activities though, and if your prescription is very high the lenses may be thick and heavy or make your eyes and the world appear very small when looking through them.

Contact lenses are awesome in that they can give very large amounts of correction without changing magnification, and are much more convenient for physical activities or for getting out of glasses for a change. However, contact lenses require care and diligence in order to avoid complications.

Surgical procedures are also very helpful for decreasing reliance on glasses and contact lenses and providing large amounts of correction. Of course, while complications are rare with these procedures, they can still occur and this is something to consider when looking into them.

Myopia Control

Other than simply correcting nearsightedness, we can take steps to decrease the amount of myopic progression (increasing of the minus prescription) throughout one’s life.

In myopic children, methods like glasses or contact lenses that provide different levels of focus to different parts of the eye and medicated eye drops can slow the rate of their increase as they grow into adulthood.

There is nothing that can completely halt or reverse the process as it has to do with eye growth, but decreasing the amount of myopia is a great option to pursue in young people as it makes them less reliant on visual correction and decreases the chances of retinal diseases later in life.

Our eye doctor at Eye Contact in Acworth, GA excels in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrist at (770) 529-1925 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about myopia and the options for being nearsighted. Our eye doctor, Dr. Wes Mobley provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Acworth, Georgia and its surrounding areas.

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