Close up of a woman’s eye wearing a contact lens
Close up of a woman’s eye wearing a contact lens

Nearsightedness (Myopia)

Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition that occurs when the eye cannot focus clearly, making faraway objects look blurred.

Nearsightedness happens when the shape of the eye is too long or when the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, is too steep. This causes light rays entering the eye to focus in front of the retina, a layer of tissue in the back of the eye, instead of on it. This incorrectly focused light causes blurry vision.

The exact cause of nearsightedness is unknown, but evidence shows that many people inherit myopia or have a greater chance of developing it. Activities that can contribute to the development of nearsightedness include spending a lot of time:

  • Reading
  • Working at a computer
  • Performing close visual work

Nearsightedness is common. It affects nearly 30% of the U.S. population.

Symptoms of Nearsightedness

Common symptoms of nearsightedness include:

  • Blurred vision far away
  • Needing to squint to see clearly
  • Eyestrain (when eyes feel tired)

People with nearsightedness might have difficulty seeing:

  • Street signs while driving
  • TV screens
  • Chalkboard in school
  • Faces across a room

Nearsightedness usually first occurs in school-age children and progresses until around age 20.

An eye doctor can check for nearsightedness and discuss treatment options, including great options for teens, during a comprehensive eye exam.

See Also: What Happens During an Eye Exam?

Treatments for Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is corrected by refocusing the light rays that enter the eye.

Common treatments include:

  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Orthokeratology (or Ortho-K), an innovative process that gently reshapes the cornea overnight for clear vision without lenses during the day
  • Laser or other surgical procedures to reshape the cornea so that light is correctly focused on the retina