Nearsightedness, know as Myopia, is one of the most common vision problems.
Myopia has increased by 66 percent since 1970-1971 according to a National Eye Institute (NEI) study that compared rates of myopia in the USA with a survey conducted 1994-2004. The rate of myopia rose from 25 percent of participants to 41.6 percent. According to Susan Vitale, NEI epidemiologist of ocular diseases and vision disorders who led the studies, “The good news about myopia is that it is easy to treat.”
Nearsighted people have difficulty reading signs and clearly seeing distant objects, but they can see up-close tasks such as reading or sewing, just fine.
Myopia Signs and Symptoms
Nearsighted people report headaches or eyestrain more often, and they squint or feel fatigued while driving or during sports. If the symptoms persist while wearing glasses or contact lenses, the corrective prescription may need adjustment.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is slightly misshapen, longer than usual, from front to back. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on the surface.
Nearsightedness runs in families and usually begins during childhood. This vision problem may stabilize at a certain point, although it also may worsen with age.
Nearsightedness is mostly corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. Depending on the degree of myopia, you may need eyeglasses or lenses all the time, or only when sharper distance vision, like driving, or viewing a chalkboard, movie etc., is desired.
If your glasses or contact lens prescription begins with a minus number, e.g: -2.00, you are nearsighted.
Refractive surgery is a more “permanent” option for correcting myopia. This includes laser procedures such as LASIK and PRK, or non-laser options such as corneal inserts and implantable lenses. One advantage of the non-laser options is that, although they’re intended to be permanent, they may be removed in case of a problem or change of prescription.
Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure where special rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lenses are used to slowly reshape the cornea during sleep. After the lenses are removed the cornea retains the new shape. The patient can see clearly during the day without wearing glasses or contact lenses.