What is myopia?

People who have myopia (nearsightedness) have difficulty seeing distant objects, but can see objects that are near clearly. For example, a person who is nearsighted may not be able to make out highway signs until they are just a few feet away.

Myopia affects a significant percentage of the population, but this eye disorder is easily corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.

What causes myopia?

People who are nearsighted have what is called a refractive error. In people with myopia, the eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, so the light entering the eye is not focused correctly. Images focus in front of the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye, rather than directly on the retina, causing blurred vision.

Myopia runs in families and usually appears in childhood. Usually the condition levels off, but it can worsen with age.

What are the symptoms of myopia?

People who are nearsighted often complain of headaches, eyestrain, squinting, or fatigue when driving, playing sports, or looking more than a few feet away. Children commonly complain of not being able to see the board at school.