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Myopia – Nearsightedness

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Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common refractive disorders in the eye, and is quickly becoming more prevalent in recent years. This disorder is characterized as being able to focus on objects that are near with no difficulty (like computers or tablets), but objects that are far appear to be out of focus (such as billboards or traffic signs). A refractive error in the eye is to blame. An individual could experience a gradual onset beginning from childhood, and see a significant increase past age 20, as the eye changes shape and genetics begin to play a role.

Common Causes of Myopia

As previously mentioned, Myopia is primarily caused by genetics. The shape of your eye is the reason for a refractive error, characterized by an eye that is too long or a cornea that has too much curvature. This causes the light to refract abnormally and focus in front of your retina rather than on it, resulting blurry vision.
Because disorder can be found most commonly in people aged 12-54, it can also be attributed to the heavy use of current technology in this age bracket. Although the exact cause is unknown, new evidence suggests that ‘screen time’ and focusing closely for long periods can change the shape of your eye overtime, causing the inability to focus on distant objects.

Signs and Symptoms

It may be hard to identify these symptoms in children, as they wouldn’t necessarily know their vision is an issue at a young age. As children enter grade school and begin to read, Myopia can become evident. Some signs and symptoms to watch for are:

  • Difficulty reading from a distance
  • Inability to focus on anything far away
  • Headaches and eye strain
  • Squinting
  • Eye fatigue when reading or using a handheld device

Treating Myopia

Myopia is corrected commonly with eye glasses or contacts. If any or all of the above symptoms are experienced, a single exam from an optometrist will be able to accurately diagnose the individual. Although Myopia can stabilize after childhood, over time your eyes will change. It is recommended to have regular exams performed to ensure your lenses are at the proper power to correct the refraction in the eyes.
For those who qualify, the more permanent approach would be corrective eye surgery, or LASIK. This is a relatively painless procedure where the shape of the lens in your eye is corrected by a carefully guided laser. It is an excellent and hassle free option for those who wish to be free of corrective lenses or contacts.

Written by Dr. Scott Mundle

A University of Waterloo graduate (class of 1983), Dr. Mundle became a partner with Henderson Vision Centre just one year later. Dr. Mundle has been an integral part of Henderson Vision Centre ever since.
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