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Nearsightedness Causes and Treatment

Nearsightedness Causes and Treatment

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a vision condition caused by an irregular eye shape that refracts light differently from someone with perfect vision. This irregularity is common and causes objects that are farther away to appear blurry. Learn more about nearsightedness causes and treatment.

What is Nearsightedness?

Eye exams, like the ones in routine health check-ups, should be able to tell you whether or not you have nearsightedness. Getting vision aids like glasses or contact lenses will help compensate for the blurring of faraway objects. Corrective surgery like laser surgery or refractive surgery also offers a permanent solution.

Nearsightedness Causes and Treatment

As mentioned, the shape of the eye causes nearsightedness and this variation is brought about by an irregularity in the curve of the cornea or the lens. The cornea and lens both have the curvature to refract light that we perceive to make a clear image to be processed by the retina. The irregularity in the curve of the cornea, lens, or both causes the light rays to be refracted differently. This causes all kinds of refractive errors. It covers not just nearsightedness but also farsightedness or hyperopia and astigmatism.

For nearsightedness, it’s likely that your eyeball is less round because it’s stretched outwards like a horizontal oblong or your cornea may be curved a bit too much. This causes the focus to shift and the light doesn’t hit the retina precisely, which causes the blurring.

Eye Redness Causes and Treatment

Symptoms

The symptoms of nearsightedness are pretty straightforward since it causes blurred vision or perception of things that are far away from you.

Good indicators that may point to you having nearsightedness are the following:

  • Having to squint or narrow your eyes to see things from afar clearly
  • People with nearsightedness might struggle when driving especially in poorly-lit situations like nighttime
  • Experiencing headaches due to eye strain
  • Blinking excessively
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes could also be the body’s way of adjusting to the irregularities in eye

When your quality of vision is low and it interferes with your daily life, it may be best for you to consult a medical expert to determine the degree.

If you experience a sudden onset of specks that move through your field of vision or sudden flashes of light or darkening vision, emergency medical attention may be needed since these could be signs of a medical emergency called retinal detachment, which could be caused by high or severe myopia.

Diagnosis

Eye exams that come with physical examinations can help detect possible vision problems including nearsightedness. According to ophthalmologists, taking an eye exam at least once every two to four years is ideal for most adults.

Children and people who wear glasses or are diagnosed with health conditions like diabetes that could affect their eyes need to take eye exams more frequently.

If you experience any blurring, it’s also ideal to have an eye exam even if it’s been less than the suggested duration. Your doctor may either change or start your prescription.

Prevention

Like most visual impairments, nearsightedness is believed to be a progressive condition. This means that as time goes on, it could either get better or worse depending on how it’s treated. Because of this, a good way of preventing nearsightedness is having regular check-ups and using visual correction methods as early as possible.

Some studies also show that spending enough time outdoors can delay the manifestation or even slow the progression of nearsightedness. In addition, children are advised to spend at least 2 hours outdoors every day.

Reducing screen time on your mobiles, laptops and TV is highly encouraged if you’re an adult. For babies and children below 7 years old, it is discouraged as it also affects their development.

Treatment

The most common method of treating nearsightedness is getting prescription lenses. These corrective lenses treat the irregularity in the eyes by adjusting how the light enters your eyes. There are several methods of applying prescription lenses. These include eyeglasses, which is a simple way of correcting vision by wearing a pair of lenses that could be single vision, multi-focal, or progressive. The other method uses contact lenses, which function the same as eyeglasses but are worn right on your eyes.

Another method of correcting nearsightedness is going through refractive surgery wherein a light beam is used to reshape the irregularity, which can either eradicate or decrease the prescription for nearsightedness.

These come in three technical forms that vary in application but have the same purpose:

  • LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses wherein the cornea is flattened by removing inner layers
  • LASEK or laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy wherein a thin portion is taken from the epithelium or the cornea’s outer cover
  • PRK or photorefractive keratectomy wherein the surgeon removes the epithelium entirely

Key Takeaways

Our quality of vision greatly affects how we are able to do the simplest of tasks in our daily life. Taking care of our eyes and knowing when to seek the doctor for help is important to ensure that we live the best lives possible. Keep in mind nearsightedness causes and treatment, and consult an optometrist should you start experiencing symptoms.

Learn more about Eye Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Short-sightedness, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/short-sightedness/, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

Myopia, https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/condition/myopia-short-sight, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

Children’s myopia: Having short sight, https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/content/childrens-myopia-having-short-sight, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

Can I get laser eye surgery?, https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/can-i-get-laser-eye-surgery-on-the-nhs/, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

Myopia: a growing global problem with sight-threatening complications, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4675264/, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

Myopia, https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/myopia, Accessed Jan 1, 2021

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Written by Kip Soliva Updated Jan 04
Medically reviewed by Victor Ephraime V. Paulino, MD, DPBO
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