Nearsightedness / myopia eye care appointments
Nearsightedness - myopia - is a common condition that affects vision. If you are nearsighted, you are able to see objects that are nearby clearer than objects that are far away. This refractive error is caused by an eyeball that is too long or the cornea is curved too steeply. These factors result in light being focused in front of the retina, leading to blurred vision.
- Far off objects appear blurry or out of focus
- Difficulty with driving or playing sports
- Squinting to see clearly
- Eyestrain: A dull pain, or burning sensation in the eyes
Nearsightedness affects roughly 40% of Americans. The rate of nearsightedness in school-age children has been rising in recent years. It is believed that a lack of time spent outdoors, or doing activities near the eye (such as smartphone use) can cause nearsightedness to develop. While some cases of nearsightedness level off as a child develops, the condition may also get worse with age.
For most people, nearsightedness is inherited through genetics, meaning that if your parents are nearsighted, you are more likely to be nearsighted yourself.
Nearsightedness is usually diagnosed through eye exam tests performed by an eye care provider, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. If you notice that you or your child is experiencing vision problems, or are unable to perform daily tasks, talk to an eye care specialist. Even if your symptoms of nearsightedness are mild, the condition can lead to complications such as impaired safety, persistent headaches, and eyestrain if left untreated.
Treatment for nearsightedness will depend on your age and the severity of your condition. Below are common options to reduce and manage the symptoms of nearsightedness.
During your appointment, talk to your eye care provider about treatment options, and the best plan for you.
Prescription lenses are the simplest, most common methods of treating refractive errors. The exact prescription of the lens will depend on the severity of your nearsightedness, and any discrepancies in vision between your two eyes. The most common prescription lenses are:
- Eyeglasses: The lenses in eyeglasses will adjust how light enters your eye. By correcting an overly curved cornea, or a longer-than-normal eyeball, eyeglasses can help reduce the blurring of far-off objects.
- Contact lenses: Contacts are placed directly on the eye. These lenses correct how light bends and enters the eye, improving blurred vision. Contact lenses are available in several different materials and designs. Not every contact lens is right for every eye, however. During your appointment, talk to your eye care provider about the different types of contact lenses, contact lens care, and what type of lens is best for you.
Surgery to correct a refractive error is usually an elective procedure that you can choose to undergo. Refractive surgery is generally performed with a laser and re-shapes the curvature of the eye to correct any errors in the lens or cornea. The most common types of refractive surgeries are laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK), and Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
During LASIK and LASEK procedures, the surgeon will create an ultra-thin flap in either the cornea (LASIK) or the cornea’s protective layer (LASEK). After this flap is created the surgeon will use a laser to reshape or remove parts of the cornea to correct refractive errors.
PRK involves the complete removal of the cornea’s protective layer to reshape the cornea. After reshaping is finished, the protective covering is placed back over the cornea.
These procedures can be expensive and require several days of recovery time. However, they can significantly reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses. Talk to your eye care provider about the pros and cons of refractive surgery.