What Is Nearsightedness?
Myopia, or “nearsightedness,” is a condition of the eye in which objects that are closer to the eyes can be seen clearly, but objects far away appear blurry or hard to distinguish. You may also have heard myopia referred to as “shortsightedness.” Along with astigmatism, and hyperopia (or “farsightedness”), myopia is one of the 3 most common eye conditions among adults and children across the globe.
Symptoms of nearsightedness usually become apparent during school years, as books or test papers are more visually clear while whiteboards or far-away screens are harder to see. Although many people don’t notice them right away, however, symptoms of nearsightedness can appear at any age.
What Causes Nearsightedness?
The JAMA Ophthalmology published a study in December 2009 noting a 16% increase in cases of myopia over the span of 32 years. The study found that the prevalence of myopia among adults and children aged 12-54 in the US grew from 25% in 1972 to a staggering 41.6% in 2004. While a genetic predisposition is the most likely cause of nearsightedness, many eye health professionals feel that the recent increases in myopia cases are connected to eye fatigue, more frequent use of computers and digital displays, and other extended near-vision tasks.
Because of the genetic link, parents with myopia should pay close attention to early signs of nearsightedness in children. Some children will present symptoms at an early age, but for many, the condition worsens well into age twenty and beyond. The best way to stay on top of myopia and other vision conditions are yearly exams with a Doctor of Optometry, beginning at school age.
How is Nearsightedness Treated?
For most people, myopia is only a minor inconvenience that is easily managed with proper prescription glasses and regular visits to your Optometrist. However, myopia can sometimes be so severe or advanced that it can be considered a degenerative eye condition. Although rare, degenerative myopia affects nearly 2% of Americans and is the leading cause of legal blindness.
Corrective lenses (glasses) are by far the most common treatment for nearsightedness. Depending upon the degree of your myopia, you may either need to wear corrective lenses all the time, or only when you need clear vision at a distance – like when driving, golfing, viewing a chalkboard, or even at the movies. Also, depending upon your age, you may need multifocal lenses that will help you see both distant and nearby objects more clearly. Your Optometrist will decide your best course of treatment.
By keeping yearly appointments with a licensed Doctor of Optometry, current prescription lenses, and quality frames custom-fitted to your unique dimensions by a licensed optician, nearsightedness can typically be managed effectively and efficiently.
To schedule your premium eye exam with one of our independent Doctors of Optometry, call our downtown Naples office today at 239.263.6677 or our office on Pine Ridge near the Vineyards at 239.353.8794.