Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is blurred vision at long distances. Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the outer protective layer of the eye, is too curved, preventing light entering the eye from focusing directly on the retina. This type of refractive error leads to blurred vision, especially with far away objects.
Causes of Myopia
High myopia, the most serious form of nearsightedness, occurs when the eyeball grows too much. This form of myopia can increase the chances of conditions such as cataracts, detached retina, and glaucoma.
Degenerative myopia, also called pathological or malignant myopia, is a rare form of nearsightedness that is inherited from family genetics. Hereditary nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball grows too quickly, and is often discovered in teens or young adults. Degenerative nearsightedness can worsen with age, so it is important to monitor any changes to the eyes with a regular eye exam in order to treat nearsightedness correctly. Detached retina, abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye (choroid neovascularization), and glaucoma may be more likely to occur in patients with degenerative myopia.
Symptoms of Myopia
Often the only symptom of myopia may be distant objects appearing blurry. This blurriness, however, can lead to further symptoms such as headaches, squinting, eye strain, and eye fatigue.
Only an eye exam will show exactly the type of myopia a patient may be suffering from, and treatment will depend on the individual. Generally, treatment for nearsightedness is as simple as prescription eyeglass lenses or contact lenses. The prescription for patients with nearsightedness will be a negative number. The more negative the prescription, the more powerful the lenses will be. The goal of corrective lenses is to help keep the light which enters the eye focused on the retina.
Sometimes refractive surgery may be recommended to correct the refractive error causing nearsightedness. See more about corrective surgery on our Lasik Referrals page.
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