The term myopia comes from a Greek word meaning ‘closed eyes’. Squinting to see distant objects is one of the main indications of nearsightedness. If you are nearsighted, you can focus well on nearby objects, but you cannot focus as well on objects at a distance.
What causes nearsightedness?
Myopia may occur because the eyeball is too long, rather than the normal more rounded shape. Another less frequent cause of myopia is a cornea that has too large a degree of curvature. Myopia is not a disease, nor does it mean that you have ‘bad eyes’. It simply means that you have a normal variation in the shape of your eyeball. The degree of variation determines whether or not you will need corrective eyewear.
How does myopia affect sight?
To fully understand why myopia causes a disturbance in sight, it is helpful to understand the process by which sight occurs. In a normal sighted eye rays of light from a distant object are focused on the retina at a point called the fovea. In a nearsighted eye the light is focused in front of the retina. This causes the fovea to receive light that is out of focus.
To correct this, nearsighted eyes need to wear concave lenses, minifying lenses, that moves the focal point of light back onto the fovea, thus giving it focused light.
What are the symptoms of myopia?
The inability to see distant objects is the main symptom of myopia. This includes the inability to see road signs, scoreboards, menu boards, television screens, or distant objects.
How is myopia diagnosed?
A comprehensive eye health examination will detect myopia. Periodic examinations after myopia has been discovered will indicate whether or not the condition is growing worse and whether or not a change in prescriptive eyewear is needed. Eye exams also help to ensure that vision impairments do not interfere with daily activities.
How is myopia treated?
As with other refractive errors, corrective lenses are prescribed to help focus light more effectively on the retina. Depending on the degree of myopia, glasses may be needed all the time for clear vision. If the degree of impairment is slight, glasses may be needed only for activities that require distant vision, such as driving or watching TV. Contact lenses are also an excellent option for some myopic patients and should be discussed with your Optometrist.
The myopic child
School age children may have vision problems ranging from mild to severe. When problems are suspected, it is important that the child have a comprehensive eye health examination to determine the nature of the problem and to rule out serious eye diseases. When vision conditions are treated properly, the child will enjoy the best possible sight. Also, make the occasion of selecting new frames for lenses a fun time.
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