Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common vision condition in which faraway objects appear blurry, while objects in the near range of vision can be viewed clearly. People with myopia often need to wear corrective lenses while driving or watching TV, but may not need glasses to read or use the computer. Nearsightedness occurs in about 25% of the American population and affects adults and children alike. Myopia is often diagnosed before children reach adolescence and may continue to worsen until early adulthood. In most cases, vision will then remain stable until the individuals reach their 40s, but may worsen again in later years.
Myopia is easy to diagnose and treat. In fact, nearsightedness is one of the most common reasons why people wear prescription glasses and contact lenses. By wearing corrective lenses, most individuals are able to achieve 20/20 vision.
Causes & Symptoms of Nearsnightedness
To see perfectly, light must be focused directly on the retina after it enters the eyes. Nearsightedness is a refractive error that occurs when the eyes focus light in front of the retina. This can happen because the eyeball is longer than normal or due to an abnormally shaped cornea or lens. Researchers have not determined the exact reason why some people develop nearsightedness, but the condition is known to run in families and may be linked to lifestyle choices. Recent studies have shown that children today are at a higher risk for developing myopia because they spend less time outside, where long range vision is strengthened, and more time inside watching TV and using handheld electronics.
Common symptoms of myopia include:
- Distant objects appear blurry
- The need to squint to view distant objects clearly
- Headaches and eyestrain
- Difficulty seeing well while driving
Parents often become aware of their child’s nearsightedness because of certain behaviors, which include:
- Sitting very close to the television
- Requesting to sit in the front of the classroom to see the board more clearly
- Squinting very often
- Rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
Nearsightedness is diagnosed by conducting a routine eye exam. During the exam, Dr. Semaan performs various tests to determine the level of nearsightedness and any other conditions that may affect a patient’s vision. Part of the exam will involve looking at a vision chart through a series of different lenses. This is done to determine the prescription that is needed to correct nearsightedness so the patient can see clearly.
Treatments for Myopia
Once nearsightedness has been diagnosed, Dr. Semaan will discuss treatment options, which may include wearing corrective lenses or undergoing refractive surgery.
- Corrective lenses: The most common treatment for myopia is the use of corrective lenses. In most cases, patients can pick between eyeglasses and contact lenses, or they may choose to have both for use in different situations. Corrective lenses work by adjusting the way light enters the eye so that it focuses the image directly on the retina, rather than in front of it.
- Refractive surgery: Patients who don’t want to be as dependent upon corrective lenses may opt to undergo refractive surgery. Refractive surgery has become popular in the last 20 years, with more and more people choosing to undergo this routine surgery to achieve better vision. The most popular types of refractive surgery for myopia are LASIK and PRK. Both of these surgeries improve nearsightedness by changing the shape of the cornea to allow light to focus on the retina.
Consulting with Dr. Semaan at Beach Eye Medical Group
Dr. Semaan is a board-certified optometrist who is highly experienced in treating a wide range of visual disorders and conditions, including nearsightedness. If you or your children are experiencing symptoms of nearsightedness, please contact our Orange County office to schedule a complete eye exam today. Likewise, if you haven’t undergone an eye exam in recent years, we encourage you to schedule one with Dr. Semaan to ensure your eyes are healthy and your vision is at its best.