Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a very common vision condition. It is estimated that up to 33% of Americans are nearsighted.
Nearsighted people have difficulty reading road signs and seeing distant objects clearly, but can see well for up close tasks such as reading or sewing.
Signs and Symptoms of Myopia
Nearsighted people often have headaches or eyestrain, and might squint or feel fatigued when driving or playing sports. If you experience these symptoms while wearing your glasses or contact lenses, you may need a stronger prescription.
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than usual from front to back. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on the surface of the retina.
Nearsightedness runs in families and usually appears in childhood. Myopia may stabilize at a certain point, although sometimes it worsens with age.
Nearsightedness may be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. Depending on the degree of myopia, you may need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses all the time. Some only need to wear corrective lenses when they need sharper distance vision, for example, driving, viewing a chalkboard, or watching a movie.
If your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription begins with a minus numbers, like -2.50, you are nearsighted.
Refractive surgery is another option for correcting myopia. This includes laser procedures such as LASIK and PRK, or non-laser options such as corneal inserts and implantable lenses. One advantage of the non-laser options is, although they are intended to be permanent, they may be removed in case of a problem or change of prescription.
If you are tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses and are looking for a non-surgical procedure to correct your myopia, orthokeratology may be a good option. Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure where you wear special rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses to slowly reshape the cornea to correct your myopia. When the lenses are removed, the cornea temporarily retains the new shape so you can see clearly without the contact lenses. These cornea reshaping lenses are worn while you sleep, so you have daytime vision without contacts or glasses.