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myopia or nearsightedness causes symptoms treatment

Myopia or nearsightedness is the technical term for nearsightedness. It is one of the most common diagnoses optometrists see in our offices. If you’re diagnosed with myopia, you have no problem seeing objects clearly if they’re within a foot or two in front of you. However, objects or text in the distance appear blurred. 

Any time you experience blurred vision, we recommend scheduling an eye exam to determine the cause and get your world back in focus again.

What Causes Myopia Or Nearsightedness?

The eye is a complex organ that relies on shape and geometry to change light into images. If the eyeball is longer than it is wide, or the cornea is more curved than normal, it changes how light is bent (refracted) on the retina, making it harder to bring things in the distance into clear focus.

About 30% of the population is nearsighted, so you’re in good company. While genetics certainly play a role (children with myopic parents are more likely to be nearsighted), plenty of children and adults diagnosed with myopia don’t have a genetic link as far as we can tell.

Some people experience a form of myopia called night blindness, which makes it harder to see clearly when the sun sets. Also, myopia can also be an early sign of type 2 diabetes, which is known for causing vision loss.

Symptoms Of Nearsightedness

Some patients are born nearsighted, while others develop the condition over time. If you are born with myopia or are diagnosed in your younger years, the condition may worsen as you age. However, most of our patients have a stable lens prescription by the time they’re in their 20s and don’t typically need much adjusting until age-related vision changes develop down the road.

Young children are typically diagnosed with myopia at a routine pediatric appointment or at their first eye exam. If you had 20/20 vision when you were younger and developed myopia, you may notice the following symptoms:

Eye strain when looking at things in the distance

Unsurprisingly, people with blurry distance vision strain their eyes when driving, in a classroom, or watching TV. People who work on a computer may also notice increased eye strain as they become more nearsighted. 

Eye strain may be obvious in eye pain or discomfort. However, other symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Feeling tired when well-rested (especially when using distance vision)
  • Headaches
  • Having to blink repeatedly to bring things in the distance into focus.

Children may be unable to speak to these symptoms, so you may notice them rubbing their eyes more often, squinting, or complaining about eye tearing “for no reason.”

You can’t see things clearly up to 20 feet

Perfect vision is defined as 20/20. If you are nearsighted, you might have vision that is 20/10 or 20/5, which means that what most people can see clearly at 20 feet, you have to be 10 or 5 feet away in order to see it.

If you can’t read street signs, digital clocks in rooms are blurry, or you have to sit close to the whiteboard or screen in a classroom or presentation to see, odds are you’re nearsighted. 

Diagnosing Myopia

A complete eye exam is required to officially diagnose myopia and get you the right lens prescription. We use a combination of tools to perform the exam, ranging from the widely-recognized Snellen eye chart to machines that can assess a patient’s ability to focus. 

NOTE: Toddlers and young children do not need to read to have an eye exam. We have special charts with symbols, plus the retinoscopy machine (which allows us to see where the light focuses on the retina) provides the information we need to diagnose young children.

The sooner you are diagnosed, the better. The longer you wait, the more your eyes are strained and the more dangerous it is to drive or perform tasks requiring distance vision.

Treatment For Nearsightedness

There are several ways we can treat nearsightedness:


Prescription eyeglasses are the most common way to treat nearsightedness. Depending on your job and most common daily tasks, your optometrist may discuss different options with you, including progressive lenses or bifocals

Contact lenses

If you prefer not to wear glasses, contact lenses are another option. Most people choose to use disposable contacts that are thrown away after each use, preventing the risk of eye infection and eliminating the need for daily contact lens care.

LASIK surgery

In some cases, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may recommend cornea surgery to reshape the cornea and restore clear vision. The surgery is performed using a laser and is a standard treatment for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. If your cornea is too thin, your doctor may talk to you about PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratectomy) as an alternative.

Laser surgeries are a very popular treatment option for those who don’t want to wear glasses, but they come with a small risk and potential side effects. For example, some people with LASIK or PRK experience a halo (glare) effect around lights at nighttime or may experience night blindness. This can be corrected with specific lenses for nighttime driving to help block the glare.

Additional treatment options include other refractive surgery options and certain types of therapies. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist aims to find the least invasive and most successful treatment for your medical history and preferences.

Atlantic Eye Institute Restores Distance Vision

Are things looking a little blurry in the distance? Or, have you noticed your child is struggling to see things that aren’t right in front of their face? Schedule an eye exam with Atlantic Eye Institute. In about 30 minutes or less, we’ll know what’s causing blurred vision and start working toward a solution. 

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