Myopia & Nearsightedness FAQ

If you have trouble seeing things in the distance or you find yourself squinting at road signs while driving, you may have myopia. Also called nearsightedness, myopia is a very common eye condition among adults and children that can cause objects in the distance to appear blurred, while objects up-close can be seen clearly.


What is Myopia or Nearsightedness?

As we mentioned above, myopia is an eye condition (known as a refractive error), that can cause objects in the distance to appear blurry. This often happens when eye growth is rapid, or the eye becomes too long. It can also occur if your eye’s cornea is more curbed than normal, which makes the eye focus harder than it should. When someone with myopia tries to read a sign in the distance, the rays of light are focused in front of the eye’s retina, instead of directly onto it. This causes your vision to become unclear and blurry.


What Causes Myopia?

There are a couple different causes of myopia or nearsightedness. In most cases of myopia, the structure of the eye is the main cause of the eye condition. Essentially, the eyeball is too long or the cornea (this is the protective layer of your eye) is too curved. When the cornea is in this state, the light that enters the eye won’t focus properly. Rather than having images focus directly on your eye’s retina, images focus in front of the retina. This causes blurry vision and eye strain.


When Does Myopia Start?

Myopia often begins in childhood; however, nearsightedness can stabilize in early adulthood as well. Myopia is known to continue to progress with age, so don’t be surprised if your child needs new eyewear or contact lens prescriptions each year or so.


What are the Symptoms of Myopia?

Adults and children who have difficulty reading or seeing distant objects clearly may be suffering from myopia or nearsightedness. Other symptoms of myopia include:


  • Frequent squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Feeling fatigued when driving


Can Myopia be Cured?

There is no absolute cure for myopia or nearsightedness, however, there are eye treatments that can slow the progression of the eye condition. There are specialized contact lenses, eyewear lenses, and eye drops that can help with symptoms of myopia. Your local eye doctor will be able to recommend the best myopia treatment option for you.


Is Myopia an Eye Disease?

Many people think that myopia is an eye disease, but this is a false assumption. Myopia or nearsightedness is what is known as a refractive error of the eye. In the layman’s terms, a refractive error of the eye is an imperfection. Unfortunately, this imperfection can lead to eye strain, blurry vision, feelings of fatigue, and headaches when left untreated.


What are Myopia Treatments?

There are several different myopia treatments available, from single vision spectacle lenses and contact lenses to refractive eye surgery and pharmaceutical agents, your optometrist will be able to identify the best myopia treatment for you. Some of the most common myopia treatments are listed below.


  • Eyeglasses. Most adults and children who suffer from myopia are prescribed eyeglasses to help correct their vision. Your optometrist may recommend only wearing glasses during certain activities, such as driving a car at night or watching a movie. Most eye doctors will recommend single vision lenses, however patients who suffer from stress-related myopia may need bifocal or progressive lenses.
  • Contact lenses. If you have myopia or nearsightedness, your optometrists may recommend you try contact lenses for clearer eyesight and a better field of vision.
  • Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). If you suffer from severe myopia, your eye doctor may suggest that you try corneal refractive therapy. This is a nonsurgical procedure where the patient is instructed to wear a series of specially designed contact lenses to help gradually reshape the cornea. These special contact lenses place pressure on the cornea to help flatten its curve, which can help improve symptoms of nearsightedness.
  • Laser procedures like LASIK. Also called laser in situ keratomileusis, LASIK is another possible eye treatment for nearsightedness. LASIK surgery is the process of removing tissue from the inner layers of the cornea.
  • Vision therapy. Another type of therapy to treat myopia is vision therapy. This is an ideal option for patients who experience blurred vision from spasms of muscles in the eye. This requires taking the time to do various eye exercises to improve your eye’s ability to focus.


Will Glasses Help my Nearsightedness?

If you have myopia or nearsightedness, prescription eyeglasses may be a great treatment option for you. Your optometrist may recommend high-index lenses or lenses with anti-reflective properties. When your eye doctor hands you your eyeglasses prescription or contact lens prescription, you’ll notice a couple of numbers on them. The first number, known as the “sphere”, will be followed by a minus sign (-). The higher the number behind the minus sign, the higher your eyewear prescription will be.


What is Degenerative Myopia?

Degenerative myopia is a type of nearsightedness that is considered to be progressive and severe. Also known as pathological or malignant myopia, degenerative myopia is believed to be hereditary and often begins in childhood. Degenerative myopia can result in a quick and severe loss of vision. Men and women who suffer from this type of nearsightedness are at a greater risk of retinal detachment and other eye conditions.


Is Myopia or Nearsightedness Genetic?

There is evidence that suggests myopia or nearsightedness is genetic and can be inherited from generation to generation.


I Have Trouble Seeing at Night, am I Nearsighted?

Some people experience blurred vision only at night. Eye doctors have coined this issue as “night myopia.” Lack of light can make it difficult for some people’s eyes to focus properly. This can be especially difficult when trying to read road signs when driving. If this sounds like you, visit your local optometrist for a myopia eye exam.


How Can I Slow the Progression of Myopia?

Many of our eye care patients ask us if there are ways to slow down the progression of myopia or nearsightedness. Your optometrist may recommend taking regular breaks from screen time every 30 minutes or so. If you work on a computer, tablet, or cell phone, make sure you give your eyes time to rest throughout the day. In addition to resting your eyes, prescription eyewear, contact lenses, and eye drops may help reduce myopia symptoms as well.


Does Myopia Cause Blindness?

Most cases of myopia do not lead to blindness, however in extreme circumstances, nearsightedness can cause vision-threatening complications. While it is very rare, patients with severe myopia can become blind. This stage is called degenerative myopia. When nearsightedness progresses at a fast pace, it can also lead to eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and even retinal detachment. Regular eye exams can help your optometrist catch early signs of myopia.


What’s the Difference Between Refractive and Non-Refractive Errors?

Myopia or nearsightedness is known as a refractive error. These errors happen when the eye does not focus the light entering into it, which causes blurred vision. Non-refractive errors, on the other hand, are errors that stem from eye diseases.


Can Children Have Myopia?

Absolutely. In fact, most patients with myopia develop the refractive error during their childhood. Kids with myopia or nearsightedness often squint their eyes when trying to observe things in the distance. If your child has difficulty reading road signs or landmarks on car rides or they sit too close to the television, it may be a sign of childhood myopia.


Does Myopia Get Worse with Age?

Many people wonder if myopia gets worse with age. The answer is, it depends. Since children are in the development stage of their life, they tend to develop myopia if their eyes grow at a fast pace. By the time a child is in his or her 20s, their nearsightedness may stabilize. Some cases of childhood myopia do worsen with age, as well.


Myopia Treatment at MyEyeDr.

If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from myopia or nearsightedness, schedule an eye exam at a MyEyeDr. near you. Our optometrists are highly trained in detecting the signs and symptoms of myopia, and they are happy to recommend the best myopia treatment for you. We accept all types of vision insurance plans to help you save money on eye care services, vision tests, myopia tests, and the latest eyewear.