Nearsightedness and Myopia: Symptoms and Causes

When you’re nearsighted, images in the distance appear blurry. You may find that these images become clearer when you squint. For example, nearsighted students might be able to easily read their books and see students sitting near them, but the teacher and, more importantly, the words on the chalkboard look blurry. Nearsightedness, also called myopia,   Myopia: A refractive error resulting in the inability for the eye to see distant objects. Also referred to as "nearsightedness." Occurs when the eyeball is too long or when the cornea has too much curvature, preventing the light entering the eye from focusing correctly on the retina and resulting in blurry vision at a distance. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery are treatment options for correcting vision impairment caused by myopia.   occurs when the light rays entering the eye bend too much, coming to a point of focus before they reach the retina   Retina: The transmitter located at the back of your eye that sends the images to your brain.   . With nearsightedness, your eyes may be longer than normal or the cornea   Cornea: The clear, curved surface at the front of the eye through which light enters the eye. Along with the sclera, the cornea provides external protection for the eye.   may be too curved. As a result, the images you see don’t focus on the retina as they should.


When you are nearsighted, the images you see don’t focus on the back of the eye. Instead, they focus in front of the retina, rather than on it. Nearsightedness normally develops in childhood and is first detected when parents learn about their children’s inability to fully read the blackboard at school. Nearsightedness tends to worsen throughout the teenage years and then stabilize during early adulthood. Some experts believe that nearsightedness is passed down to us through our genes. It can occur with or without astigmatism.   Astigmatism: A common refractive condition caused by either an irregularity in the curvature of the cornea (corneal astigmatism) or the lens (lenticular astigmatism). People with astigmatism generally have difficulty seeing fine detail at all distances. This vision disorder is treated with corrective lenses or refractive surgery.   The typical prescription notation for nearsightedness has a minus sign before the first number.

Nearsightedness and Myopia: Treatment Options

The treatment for nearsightedness depends on several factors, such as your age, activities, and occupation but is commonly treated with contact lenses or eye glasses. See Eye Exams for information about how to get a prescription for corrective eyewear and see how to Prevent Vision Problems for tips on strengthening your eyes. If you’re ready to rid yourself of corrective eyewear, check out your surgical options below.

LASIK Vision Correction

While eye glasses and contact lenses certainly help correct certain vision problems, they are more comparable to bandages and crutches—temporary fixes that don’t actually clear up the root of the problem the way surgical procedures can.

LASIK, an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most widely performed and accepted form of laser eye surgery since it completed US clinical trials in 1991, and can actually eliminate or reduce your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses by reshaping the cornea. This is a surgical procedure and with surgery there are risks. LASIK cannot be reversed once the procedure has been performed. Click on LASIK for more information about the refractive eye procedure in general, or check out some of the advances happening now with OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction.

OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction

While all LASIK procedures can help reduce the need for glasses or contacts, only OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction combines today’s most advanced surgical technologies into a procedure personalized for your ideal vision. The result: a more functional and effective eye shape.

In the past, every LASIK patient received the same basic procedure every single time, without accounting for all the unique attributes that make your eyes special. OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction is different. Only OptiLASIK® allows your surgeon to create a personalized treatment plan, with treatment options that take into account your unique visual needs, for your best results. After all, your eyes deserve special treatment.

Learn more about OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction.

Tired of eyeglasses and contact lenses and the hassles they come with? Read Am I the Right Candidate? to learn more about LASIK procedures and find out whether they’re right for you.

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