Myopia (near sightedness) is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn't focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the population.
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface.
Nearsightedness also can be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia is due to a combination of these factors
Myopia typically begins in childhood and you may have a higher risk if your parents are nearsighted. In most cases, nearsightedness stabilizes in early adulthood but sometimes it continues to progress with age.
Nearsightedness symptoms may include:
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
- The need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly
- Headaches caused by excessive eyestrain
- Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle, especially at night (night myopia)
Nearsightedness is often first detected during childhood and is commonly diagnosed between the early school years through the teens. A child with nearsightedness may:
- Persistently squint
- Need to sit closer to the television, movie screen or the front of the classroom
- Hold books very close while reading
- Seem to be unaware of distant objects
- Blink excessively
- Rub his or her eyes frequently
Myopia can affect both children and adults. The condition affects about 30 percent of population.
Myopia is often diagnosed in children between 8 and 12 years of age and may worsen during the teen years. Little change may occur between ages 20 to 40, but sometimes myopia may worsen with age. People whose parents have myopia may be more likely to get the condition.
Nearsightedness may be associated with several complications, such as:
- Reduced quality of life. Uncorrected nearsightedness can affect your quality of life. You might not be able to perform a task as well as you wish, and your limited vision may detract from your enjoyment of day-to-day activities.
- Eyestrain. Squinting to see in the distance can cause eyestrain and headaches.
- Impaired safety. Your own safety and that of others may be jeopardized if you have an uncorrected vision problem. This could be especially serious if you are driving a car or operating heavy equipment.
- Glaucoma. Severe nearsightedness increases your risk of developing glaucoma, a potentially serious eye disease.
- Retinal tear and detachment. If you're significantly nearsighted, it's possible that the retina of your eye is thin. The thinner your retina, the higher your risk of developing a retinal hole, tear or retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency, and time is critical. Unless the detached retina is promptly surgically reattached, this condition can cause permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.
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