Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common condition of vision in which you can clearly see objects near you but objects are blurry farther away. This occurs when your eye shape allows the light rays to bend (refract) inappropriately, projecting stimuli in front of your retina rather than on your retina.
Nearsightedness can develop slowly or rapidly, frequently worsening during infancy and adolescence. Nearsighted continues to run within families.
A basic eye exam can confirm nearsightedness. You can compensate for the blur with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Nearsightedness symptoms may include:
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
- The need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly
- Headaches caused by eyestrain
- Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle, particularly at night (night myopia)
Nearsightedness is often first detected during childhood and is commonly diagnosed in adolescents between early school years. A nearsighted child may:
- Persistently squint
- Need to sit closer to the TV, movie screen, or classroom front
- Seem to be unaware of distant objects
- Blink excessively
- Rub his or her eyes frequently
When to see a doctor for Nearsightedness
When your difficulty in clearly seeing objects that are far away (distance blur) is too severe to keep you from performing a task as you wish, or if the quality of your vision diminishes your enjoyment of activities, see an eye doctor. He or she will assess your degree of nearsightedness and give you advice on your choices to correct your vision.
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Seek emergency medical care if you experience:
A random or sudden appearance of many floaters â€” small specks which seem to drift by your field of vision
A curtain-like shadow over your visual field
Light flashes over one or both eyes
These are symptoms of retinal detachment, which is an unusual complication of myopia. Retinal detachment is an emergency in the medical field and time is critical.
Regular eye exams
Since it may not always be clear that you are having problems with your vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following intervals for routine eye exams:
If you are at high risk for other eye disorders, such as glaucoma, take a dilated eye exam every one to two years, beginning at age 40.
If you are not wearing the glasses or specs, have no eye condition signs, and are at low risk of developing eye disorders such as glaucoma, take an eye test at the following intervals:
- Every five to ten years in your age of 20 and 30
- Every two to four years from age of 40 to 54
- Every one to three years from age of 55 to 64
- Every one to two years after the age of 65
If you wear glasses or specs, or you have a health condition that affects your eyes, such as diabetes, you will probably need regular eye checks. Ask your eye doctor how often you need your appointments scheduled. But, if you find any issues with your vision, schedule your eye doctor’s appointment as soon as possible, even if you have had an eye exam recently. For example, blurred vision may mean you need a change to your prescription, or it may be a sign of another problem.
Nearsightedness in Children and adolescents
Children must be screened for eye disease and have their vision checked at the following ages and intervals by a pediatrician, an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, or another professional screener.
- Age 6 months
- Age 3 years
- Before grade one and every two years during school years, at well-child visits or through school or public screenings
Causes of Nearsightedness
Your eye has two parts that focus on images:
- The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped front surface of the eye.
- The lens is a clear structure concerning the size and shape of M&M candy.
Each of these focusing components has a perfectly smooth curvature in a normally shaped eye, like a marble surface. A cornea and lens with such curvature bend (refract) all incoming light to produce a tightly focused image at the back of the eye, directly on the retina.
Some risk factors may increase the probability of developing nearsightedness, like as:
Genetics: Nearsightedness tends to run in families. If one of your parents is nearsighted, your risk of developing the condition is increased. If both parents are nearsighted, the risk is even higher.
Environmental Conditions: Several studies support the idea that a lack of outdoor time may increase the chances of developing myopia.
Nearsightedness is associated with a number of complications ranging from mild to extreme, like as:
Reduced quality of life: Uncorrected nearsightedness can affect your quality of life. You might not be able to perform a task as well as you wish. And your limited vision will distract from your everyday enjoyment.
Eyestrain: Uncorrected nearsightedness can cause your eyes to squint or strain to keep focused. That can lead to headaches and eye strain.
Impaired Safety: Your own safety and that of others may be jeopardized if you have an uncorrected vision problem. If you drive a car or operate heavy machinery this may be especially dangerous.
Financial Burden: It can add up the cost of corrective lenses, eye tests, and medical treatments, particularly with a chronic condition such as nearsightedness. In certain situations, the deterioration of vision and the loss of vision will also impact future profits.
Other Eye Problems: Severe nearsightedness presents an increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy damage in the central retinal region. The tissues in long eyeballs are stretched and thin, causing tears, swelling, new blood vessels which are weak and easily bleeding, and scarring.