Myopia (nearsightedness) is a common refractive error that impedes distance vision (unlike hyperopia, which impedes close-up vision). Refractive errors are the result of a physical irregularity of the eye, such as the lens being curved abnormally; these physical irregularities influence the way light enters the eye, and thus how we see.
Most cases of myopia are due to one of two reasons:
In most cases myopia is present in childhood, though it can also progress into adulthood. Children that have nearsighted parents are more likely to be nearsighted themselves.
Myopia is generally diagnosed during a standard eye exam. During the eye exam the Optometrist will complete several tests that may indicate the presence of myopia. These tests include visual field testing, a visual acuity test, as well as results from the autorefractor.
Myopia is relatively straightforward to correct. In most people, corrective lenses do a suitable job in correcting sight so that it is clear and crisp.
The most common method of treatment for myopia is the use of corrective lenses via eyeglasses. The lenses will correct the refractive error and influence how light enters the eye. In so doing, they correct the problem and facilitate improved vision.
Similar to eyeglasses in method, but different in form, contact lenses alter the way light enters the eye and thus correct the refractive error. Unlike eyeglasses, contact lenses do not change your appearance and are preferred by many as a result.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser refractive surgery is a safe and effective way to correct myopia. These surgeries are heavily advertised as “LASIK”, “LASEK”, or “PRK”, which are names of various versions of the procedure.
During the surgery, the surgeon uses a powerful laser to correct the refractive error. The result of a successful procedure is the elimination of the need to use corrective lenses. In most cases, correction is long-term and often permanent.
In some cases, the eyes regress back into a state of refractive error. This can usually be corrected via a second procedure.