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Nearsightedness

(Myopia)

Definition

Nearsightedness (myopia) is a problem seeing objects that are far away.

Causes

Nearsightedness happens when the eyeball is too long or the cornea that covers the front of the eye is too curved. This changes the way light enters the eye. It causes far away objects to look blurry. It is not known why this happens.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who have other people in their family who are nearsighted.

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Far away objects that look blurry
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain

Diagnosis

A vision specialist will ask about your symptoms and health history. An eye exam will be done.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is for the person to see far away objects clearly. Choices are:

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct vision
  • Corneal refractive therapy using hard contact lenses to flatten the cornea and correct vision. Nearsightedness returns when the contacts stop being used.

Some people may choose to have surgery. Choices are:

  • Laser procedures that changes the shape of the cornea to allow the eye to focus
  • Surgery to implant a corrective lens with or without removing the eye's natural lens

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:

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 April 30, 2020.

Nearsightedness: Myopia diagnosis and treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/myopia-nearsightedness-treatment. Published February 5, 2019. Accessed April 30, 2020.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 4/30/2020