For a shortsighted person, close objects are clear, but distant objects are blurred and difficult to distinguish.
What is short-sightedness?
A person with myopia or short-sightedness can see close objects clearly, but distant objects may be blurry; like a road sign, blackboard, or a face across the room. It is a common condition or ‘refractive error’ of the eye, and is generally caused by irregularities in the length of the eye.
To understand conditions such as myopia, it is important to understand how the eye normally sees. As light enters the eye, it will bend or ‘refract’ when it passes through the cornea and the crystalline lens. When an eye can see clearly at all distances, it means that light has been refracted to a sharp focus point on the retina.
When an eye is short-sighted or myopic, the light will focus at a point in front of the retina. This is due either to the eyeball being too long, or the cornea being too steep in curvature.
Studies show that myopia generally develops during school-going age, and the chances of inheriting it increases if one or both parents are myopic. There are many current studies on the causes of myopia which are looking at other possible factors such as gender, ethnicity and environment.
Symptoms of Shortsightedness
An eye care professional can diagnose myopia with a simple eye exam. The most common symptoms include:
- Blurry distance vision
- Frequent squinting of eyes
- Eye strain
- Headaches from trying to focus
Treatments for Shortsightedness
Myopia is easily corrected by refocusing the light rays onto the retina of the eye. During a sight test, the optometrist will place a series of lenses in front of the eye until a clear focus is obtained. This will eventually produce a prescription; measured in diopters, and for myopia, it will have a negative value. Treatment options then can be:
- Spectacles – The most common treatment for myopic eyes. Curved or concave shaped spectacle lenses placed in front of the eye will refocus the light on to the retina to produce a sharp focus.
- Contact lenses – Contact lenses come in a variety of materials and designs to almost suit every shape of eye. Soft materials are available to help provide incredible comfort and vision for long hours of wear. Also gas permeable lenses can help correct many complex prescriptions.
- Refractive Surgery – Changes the shape of a small section of the front surface of the cornea in order to correct myopia. These procedures use laser technology and there are different methods available that will suit different prescriptions.
These symptoms can also be a sign of other eye conditions. If you have any of the symptoms, please check with your eye care practitioner.