May also be called: Nearsightedness; Shortsightedness
Myopia (my-OH-pee-uh) is nearsightedness, a common condition in which someone can
see things that are close clearly, but things that are farther away appear blurry.
More to Know
Myopia is a type of refractive error. This means the problem is caused by the way
the eye bends, or refracts, light
as it passes through the eye's cornea and lens. Normally, the cornea (the clear front
of the eye) and lens (a small structure in the eye that can change shape) work together
to take in images and focus them on the retina, the soft, light-sensitive layer of
tissue that lines the back of the eyeball wall. When someone has myopia, the lens
focuses the image in front of the retina instead of directly on it.
Myopia can happen if the eye is too long or if the cornea has too much curve to
it. This may be related to a person's genes
or it may be caused environmental conditions, such as a job that involves a lot of
reading off of computer screens.
Myopia can cause blurred vision, squinting, eyestrain, and headaches. It also can
make things like driving more dangerous when road signs are hard to read. Myopia can
affect people of any age, but it's most commonly diagnosed in adolescents during and
Myopia is diagnosed through an eye exam. Mild myopia may not need treatment. People
with moderate to severe cases may need to wear glasses or contact lenses to correct
their vision. For some adults, laser eye surgery can correct myopia permanently by
changing the shape of the cornea.
Keep in Mind
Myopia doesn't cause any pain, but it can have a negative effect on a child's quality
of life if not corrected. If your child has trouble seeing things or seems to do a
lot of squinting, talk to a doctor and schedule an eye exam. Most cases of myopia
can be easily corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery.
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