Nearsighted (Myopia)

       Nearsightedness (or Myopia) is a medical condition which is relatively easy to understand.  It basically involves the shape of the cornea (steeper than normal), the length of the eye ball (longer than normal), or commonly a combination of the two which cause light to enter into the eye and focus in front of the retina.  This causes your distance vision to be blurry while your near vision remain clear.

Incidence (Prevalence)

  • Asian  (18.5%)
  • Hispanic (13..%)
  • African-American (6.6%)
  • Caucasian (4.4%)

Causes

       Opinions on this matter vary.  There is a constant argument about whether it is genetically inherent, or if it is environmentally influenced (extended amounts of near focusing).  The hereditary factors are probably the primary cause; however, it is likely that both genetic & environmental factors contribute to the condition. This surely varies from person to person.

Treatment

       The most common way to correct myopia is with glasses or contact lenses.  In some situations (depending on age and myopia amount) surgery is an option.  With the new technologies available, LASIK has become a safe and effective way to correct myopia.

Prevention

       As stated before, the primary cause of myopia is usually a hereditary issue.  However, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent the environmental factors from playing a big role.
       Some children may have excessive accommodative convergence when focusing on near objects.  This can stimulate a progression of myopia.  To combat this, it is appropriate to prescribe bifocal or progressive lenses to these children as to relax the accommodative demand that is being placed on their eyes.  Some may argue that the child doesn’t “need” these kind of lenses, but clinical studies have shown a significant reduction in myopia progression with the use of bifocal or progressive lenses.
       The internet can provide you with several theories about causes and prevention of myopia.  Though these articles may include some truths…most are not completely accurate and seem to place false hope into concerned parents or patients.  We will happily discuss more on this topic with you during your exam.