Myopia, otherwise known as short-sightedness, is a common eye condition that causes objects in the distance to appear blurred while close objects are often seen clearly.
Myopia occurs when the eye has too much focusing power, either due to the eye being too long or the cornea being more curved than usual making the eye too strong. As a result, when someone with short-sightedness tries to look at distant objects, the rays of light are focused in front of the retina, rather than directly onto it, causing the appearance of those objects to become blurred.
What are the symptoms of myopia?
Common symptoms of myopia typically include having difficultly reading and seeing distant objects clearly, squinting your eyes to see better, and experiencing regular headaches and eye strain.
Symptoms of myopia vary between person to person. Short-sightedness usually starts around puberty and gets worse over time until the eye is fully grown.
By looking out for certain signs you can identify myopia in children, such as noticing how they may sit close to the TV or ask to sit at the front of the class so they can see the whiteboard. Children may also rub their eyes regularly or complain about headaches.
If you think you or a loved one might have myopia, an eye test will determine if you are short-sighted, and you will be given a prescription for contact lenses or glasses to help correct your vision.
What are the causes of myopia?
Myopia, or short-sightedness, occurs when the eyeball is too long so it affects how the cornea and lens focus. This means objects in the distance appear blurry because light rays are focusing at the front of the retina rather than directly on its surface.
What specifically causes the eyeball to grow longer is currently unknown, however we are aware of other factors which can cause myopia. For instance, myopia commonly runs in families so you are more likely to develop it if both sides of your family are short-sighted.
How much time you spend outside and indoors can also affect your eye sight. Spending a disproportionate amount of your time reading, writing, or at a computer can trigger myopia.
Although the contrasts between outdoor and indoor lighting can also increase the degree of myopia during the development stage, so ensuring you have a balance of sunlight and artificial light will help to reduce the strain on your eyes and the degree of myopia.
The eye condition is also more common in some demographics. For instance, myopia is more common in people with Asian roots. Short-sightedness in older people can actually be an early indication of cataracts. Myopia typically develops around puberty, but its onset can be at any age. As myopia is caused by the eye growing longer, it usually becomes worse as a child progresses into adulthood.