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Nearsightedness is a condition of the eyes when you can see the close objects clearly but the distant objects appear blurred. Medically, it’s termed as myopia and it can occur in any age.

Causes of Nearsightedness

  • Refractive error- If the cornea or the lens is long or curved, instead of being round in shape, then light fails to refract properly. It doesn’t get focused on the retina but falls in front of the retina.
  • Stress on eyes- spending too much time focusing on computer, TV or reading increases visual stress
  • Hereditary- Children might inherit myopia if both or either of the parent is myopic.

Symptoms of Nearsightedness

  • Blurred vision
  • Unable to see distant objects clearly
  • Headache
  • Rubbing of eyes
  • Difficulty in driving vehicles
  • Squinting eyes to get clear vision
  • Blinking of eyes
  • Kids find it difficult to read letters on whiteboards

Risks associated with nearsightedness

If you tend to ignore your eyesight problems, then the quality of your vision will deteriorate to a large extent and it will be difficult to execute day-to-day tasks. Furthermore, the complications increase your chances of developing:

  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal tear/holes

Degenerative myopia is serious eye complication as it begins in childhood and the eyeball elongates rapidly, making one vulnerable to complete loss of vision.

When to see a doctor?

You must fix an appointment with your doctor if you observe any of those aforementioned symptoms.

Diagnosis of Nearsightedness

The most basic diagnosis is – testing the person vision with Snellen eye chart. A person with myopia will find it difficult to read the chart while he/she can easily read the Jaeger chart (close). You will be asked to look through lenses of varying power so that the correct lens for your eyes can be determined.

Different types of eye exams are performed which include:

  • Refraction test
  • Slit-lamp exam
  • Testing for eye muscles
  • Test of color vision

Treatment for Nearsightedness

Eye glasses and Contact lens: You will need to wear corrective eye glasses or contact lens depending upon the intensity of the myopia.

Refractive Surgeries: As the name suggests, it involves special surgical techniques to change the shape of the cornea with the aim of correcting refractive errors. They are:

  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK).
  • Orthokeratology
  • Intraocular lens (IOL) implant
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
  • Implantation of corneal rings

What to expect?

 Once you start wearing glasses or lenses, it’s a permanent ornament for your eyes. Although, the corrective eye surgeries are not always 100 % success, it definitely improves vision to a large extent. You will be under several restrictions, like not exposing your eyes to light, etc. for a definitive period.

Can Nearsightedness be prevented?

The answer is NO. You cannot prevent it from occurring, nevertheless, you can improve your eyesight through various ways which in turn make you less vulnerable to nearsightedness.  

Do not impose stress on your eyes, wash your eyes every half an hour with cold water while studying or working before computer. Eat foods that are rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, sulphur, omega-3-fatty acids, etc.

Make sure you get an eye check up done if you are observing problems with seeing distant objects. An early diagnosis will always prevent aggravation your eye health.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015