Nearsightedness is an eye condition in which you can see nearby
objects clearly, but faraway objects appear fuzzy or blurry. It’s also
Nearsightedness is extremely common but treatable. According to
Optometric Association, almost 30 percent of Americans are nearsighted.
The most obvious symptom of nearsightedness is blurry vision when
you look at faraway objects. Children may have trouble seeing the blackboard at
school. Adults may not be able to see street signs clearly while driving.
Other signs of nearsightedness include:
- eyes that hurt or feel tired
The symptoms of nearsightedness usually go away after treatment
with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Headaches and eye fatigue may linger for a
week or two as you adjust to your new eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
Factors for Nearsightedness
According to the National Eye Institute,
myopia is often diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 12. Your eyes are growing
at this age, so the shape of your eyes can change. Adults usually remain nearsighted
if they have the condition as a child. Adults can also become nearsighted due
to certain health conditions, such as diabetes.
Visual stress is another risk factor for nearsightedness. This is eyestrain from doing
detailed work, such as reading or using a computer.
Nearsightedness can also be an inherited condition. If one or
both of your parents are nearsighted, you’re more likely to be as well.
How Does the Eye Work?
Nearsightedness is caused by a refractive error. A refractive error occurs when your
eye doesn’t focus light correctly. If you’re nearsighted, your eye focuses
light in front of your retina instead of onto it. This results in blurred
The retina is
the surface at the back of your eye that collects light. It changes the light
into electrical impulses that your brain reads as images.
A myopic, or nearsighted, eye focuses incorrectly because its
shape is slightly abnormal. A nearsighted eyeball is usually a little too long,
and sometimes its cornea is too rounded. The cornea is the clear covering on the front of your eye.
Your eye doctor can diagnose nearsightedness by performing a
complete eye exam.
Correction for nearsightedness may include:
- corrective lenses
- corneal refractive therapy
- refractive surgery
Eyeglasses and contact lenses are examples of corrective lenses.
These devices compensate for the curvature of your cornea or the elongation of
your eye by shifting the focus of light as it enters your eye.
Your prescription strength will depend on how far you can see
clearly. You may need to wear corrective lenses all the time or just for
certain activities, such as driving.
Contact lenses generally give you a wider field of corrected
vision than glasses. They’re applied directly to the corneas of your eyes. Some
patients can’t tolerate contact lenses because they irritate the surface of
Refractive surgery is a permanent form of correction for
nearsightedness. Also called laser
eye surgery, the procedure reshapes your cornea to focus light onto your
retina. Most people who have refractive eye surgery no longer need to wear
contact lenses or eyeglasses.
Most nearsighted patients see marked improvement with treatment.
Early treatment of myopia can prevent social and academic difficulties that can
accompany poor eyesight.
You can’t prevent nearsightedness. However, according to the Mayo
Clinic, some research suggests you may be able to slow its development.
To help protect your eyes:
- Get your vision checked regularly.
- Wear corrective lenses prescribed by your eye
- Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection.
- Use protective eyewear when doing risky
activities, such as using toxic chemicals.
- Take regular breaks from detailed work, such as looking
at your computer screen.
- Manage chronic health conditions, such as high blood
pressure and diabetes.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and
omega-3 fatty acids.
- Avoid smoking.
If you notice any changes in your vision, such as blurred vision
or halos around lights, contact your eye doctor immediately. Taking good care
of your eyes may help you see better for longer.