Learning More About: Nearsighted

What does it mean to have nearsightedness? How is nearsighted vision corrected?

Nearsightedness: An Overview

Nearsighted (also called myopia) is a term to describe an eye condition that lets you clearly see objects that are "near" or close to you, while objects in the distance appear blurry or hazy.

Nearsightedness happens in eyes that are incorrectly focusing images in front of the retina rather than directly on it. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the human eye responsible for processing images.

Nearsighted vision can be treated by prescribing corrective lenses such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. The condition can also be treated with certain types of eye surgery. Nearsighted vision can develop in children or adults, and about 25 percent of all Americans are considered nearsighted.

Nearsighted Symptoms:

Symptoms of nearsightedness are pretty easy to spot – eyes that feel tired or strained, headaches, squinting and blurred vision. The most obvious symptom is an ability to see objects that are "near" clearly, while having difficulty Eye Diagram: Myopiafocusing on objects in the distance.

Nearsighted vision can develop at any time, but is most common in pre-teen children and adults over 40. Nearsightedness develops when the eyeball becomes "longer" than it should be, moving the "focal point" of the images we see from on top of the retina, to in front of the retina. Abnormalities in the eye’s lens or cornea can also cause nearsighted vision.

Nearsighted Diagnosis and Treatment:

Only an eyecare professional can accurately detect, diagnose and treat nearsightedness. That’s why routine comprehensive eyecare exams are so important to maintaining healthy vision and healthy sight.

Nearsighted vision is treated by helping your eyes to focus images correctly on the retina, rather than in front of it. This is done by prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses or through a number of forms of surgery that help to reshape the surface of the eye.

Each treatment option has benefits and drawbacks that should be discussed completely with an eyecare professional.

The information seen here is for reference purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose or prescribe any specific treatment(s). For all questions and concerns about your vision, eye health and potential eye problems, please consult an eyecare professional.

Special thanks to the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, for source material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the NEI/NIH website.

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