What Is Myopia and How Is It Diagnosed?

Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is among the most common eyesight problems that people experience. Everyone from adults to children can suffer from the problem. One in four parents has a child with myopia. The numbers keep rising rapidly. Studies show that more than 40 percent of Americans experience nearsightedness. Read on to learn more.


What Is Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that affects distance vision. You have trouble seeing objects that are far. However, you can see those that are near clearly. 

Refractive errors occur when your eye cannot focus or refract light directly on your retina. The light rays must travel through the cornea and eye lens for clear vision. They will then refract it so it can land properly on your retina. Once it reaches the retina, your retina turns the light into signals that travel to the brain to be converted into images.

The problem occurs when the shape of the lens and cornea does not refract light properly. As a result, the light does not focus directly on the retina, causing vision to be blurry. 


Causes of Myopia

Most people with myopia get it because one or both of their parents also suffered from the same refractive error. Its causes are still not clear. Experts have not managed to identify the reasons. However, most believe it comes from environmental and hereditary factors.

It will begin developing if your lifestyle has conditions conducive to your inherited myopia. For example, if you do a lot of close-up tasks such as working on a computer or reading, you can develop nearsightedness.

Myopia often develops during childhood. It can level off during adolescence, but it worsens with age. Images can appear blurry because the light entering the eye does not get refracted correctly.


Myopia Symptoms

You may notice the following symptoms if you have nearsightedness:


  • Distant objects look fuzzy and blurry

  • Close objects look clear

  • Eyestrain

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue when looking far, playing a sport, or driving

Children with myopia tend to have poor academic performance and a short attention span. You may also notice the child holding things close to their face.


Myopia Diagnosis

Standard eye exams at Chagrin Valley Optometrists can help diagnose myopia. Most eye care practitioners diagnose it in childhood. It can develop in childhood due to diabetes or visual stress. 

Your eye doctor will first begin by testing your visual sharpness or acuity. They will test you with an eye chart with letters on it. Then they will measure how your retina refracts light using a lighted retinoscope. Finally, they will measure your refractive error using a phoropter. It places different lenses in front of your eyes to let your provider determine the strength of the lens ideal for your eyes.


Myopia Treatment

The main goal for treating myopia is to focus light on your retina so you can have clear vision. Your doctor can do so through corrective lenses or refractive surgery. Treatment options include eyeglasses, orthokeratology lenses, conventional contacts, and LASIK or PRK surgery. Topical atropine drops also help slow myopia progression in childhood.

For more about myopia, visit Chagrin Valley Optometrists at our office in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Call (440) 708-0020 to book an appointment today.

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