What is Myopia?

Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is one of the most prevalent refractive errors in the eye. It occurs when the shape of the eye causes light rays to bend (refract) incorrectly, resulting in distant objects appearing blurry while close objects can be seen more clearly. Understanding myopia, its symptoms, the process of its diagnosis, and available treatment options can help individuals make informed decisions about their eye health.

myopia illustrated with glasses and a blurry image

Symptoms of Myopia

If you’re myopic, you may notice:

  • Blurred Distance Vision: Objects in the distance, such as road signs or a blackboard, appear fuzzy and unclear.
  • Eyestrain or Headaches: Trying to focus on distant objects can strain the eyes.
  • Squinting: You may find yourself squinting to see distant objects more clearly.
  • Difficulty Driving: Especially at night, when visibility is generally reduced.
  • Frequent Changes in Prescription: For those who wear glasses or contact lenses, myopia can progress, requiring prescription updates.
  • Fatigue: Especially after activities that require seeing at a distance, like watching a movie.

Diagnosis and Care

The diagnosis of myopia is straightforward and generally involves:

  • Comprehensive Eye Examination: An optometrist will conduct a series of tests to assess the quality of your vision and the health of your eyes.
  • Visual Acuity Test: This is the familiar chart with letters that decrease in size. It helps determine the clarity of distant and near vision.
  • Refraction Assessment: Using an instrument called a phoropter, different lenses are placed in front of your eyes to determine the best prescription.
  • Retinal Examination: Drops might be used to dilate the pupils, allowing the optometrist to examine the back of the eyes, ensuring no other conditions are contributing to the vision problem.

Treatment Options for Myopia

Once myopia is diagnosed, various treatments can be prescribed:

  • Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses: The most common way to correct myopia. Lenses are designed to refocus light onto the retina, providing clearer vision.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): Special contact lenses are worn overnight to reshape the cornea temporarily, offering clearer vision during the day without the need for glasses or contacts.
  • Refractive Surgery: Procedures like LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) can be used to reshape the cornea, reducing or eliminating the need for corrective lenses.
  • Low-Dose Atropine Drops: Recent studies suggest that using these drops can slow the progression of myopia in children.
  • Multifocal Contacts or Eyeglasses: These can also be used in some cases to treat myopia or slow its progression in children.

Myopia, while common, should not be taken lightly. Regular eye examinations are vital for its early detection and effective management. With the range of treatment options available today, those with myopia can lead a life with clear vision. If you suspect you have myopia or if distant objects seem blurrier than before, schedule an appointment with your optometrist to get a comprehensive eye check-up. Your eyes deserve the best care possible, and addressing myopia early can help ensure optimal eye health for years to come.

At Tennessee Eye Care, we’re passionate about ensuring the eye health of our community. If you are experiencing myopia, or think you might be, we’re here to provide help. Schedule an appointment today, and give your eyes the attention they deserve.

Need help? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.