Shortsightedness (Myopia) – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is shortsightedness?
Shortsightedness (myopia) is an eye disorder, in which distant objects appear blurry. Shortsightedness is a type of refractive error of the eye. This condition occurs when the lens of the eye focuses light in front of the retina instead of on it. This makes it hard to see distant objects.
Shortsightedness affects males and females equally.
What causes shortsightedness?
Shortsightedness is caused when there is a mismatch between the focusing power of the eye and the length of the eye. This happens when the eyeball grows too long from front to the back. Due to this, light rays are focused in front of the retina, rather than directly on it. This results in shortsightedness.
People who have a family history of shortsightedness are more likely to develop it.
What are the symptoms of shortsightedness?
If you have nearsightedness, you can see close-up objects clearly, but find it very hard to see objects in the distance. Even when you can see far away objects, they are blurred.
The other symptoms are eyestrain and rarely headaches.
How is shortsightedness diagnosed?
The eye doctor will perform a complete eye exam including several tests. The doctor can easily diagnose shortsightedness with visual acuity test consisting of Snellen and Jaeger test. A shortsighted person has trouble reading the Snellen eye chart (the chart for distance), but can easily read the Jaeger eye chart (the chart for near reading).
The eye doctor may perform the following tests:
- Slit-lamp exam of the structures at the front of the eyes
- Retinal examination
- Eye pressure measurement (tonometry)
- Refraction test, to determine the correct prescription for glasses
- Test of color vision, to look for possible color blindness
- Tests of the muscles that move the eyes
- Visual acuity, both at a distance (Snellen), and close up (Jaeger)
How is shortsightedness treated?
Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct the vision.
For people, who don’t want to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, LASIK surgery is available to treat the problem. In this procedure, an excimer laser is used to reshape (flatten) the cornea to shift the focus.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.