Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common vision problem that causes objects to appear blurry when you are far away. It occurs when light is not focused properly on the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of your eye that allows you to see.
You can have nearsightedness or farsightedness, but both can be treated to improve your sight. Your optometrist can identify your condition after a series of eye exams.
Myopia: The Most Common Type of Myopia
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error. This means that the shape of your eye (or the shape of certain parts of your eye) makes it difficult for light to focus on the retina. If you have nearsightedness, you will have problems seeing things that are near you, like reading or doing close work.
Myopia is hereditary, and it usually starts in childhood. It typically gets worse as children grow up, but it generally plateaus by the age of 20 or so.
In myopia, the cornea and the lens of your eye are not curved or long enough to properly focus light on the retina. The result is that nearby objects are clear and distant ones are blurry.
Some people with myopia are also more likely to develop other eye problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma. This is why it’s important to get regular eye exams.
If you have nearsightedness, your eye doctor will recommend glasses or contact lenses that will help you see clearly. You can also consider refractive surgery, which uses a lens implant to correct your vision.
Farsightedness: The Other Type of Myopia
Unlike myopia, farsightedness isn’t hereditary. You can acquire it through a number of reasons, including prolonged near work or spending too much time in front of a computer screen. It’s less common than myopia, but it can cause other eye problems, such as cataracts or retinal detachment.
It’s important to get an eye exam if you notice any changes in your vision, such as flashes of light or shadows, floaters or halos around lights, or sudden blindness in one eye. You can also see an eye care professional if you have other symptoms, such as headaches or a distorted image of an object or person.
You can minimize your risk of developing nearsightedness and farsightedness by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sunlight, and avoiding a lot of close-up work. You can also wear protective eyewear, such as sunglasses that block UV radiation.
The most important thing is to avoid any kind of visual stress, which can make you prone to myopia. This can include prolonged staring at a computer screen or cell phone.
You’ll also want to take advantage of the latest technology to protect your eyes, such as anti-reflective lenses and high-quality polarized or tinted eyeglasses. You can find these types of lenses at your local drugstore or in an optical store. And be sure to get your eyes checked every year or two.