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Nearsightedness (myopia)

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or nearsightedness, is a common cause of blurred vision that causes far objects to appear out-of-focus. Short-sightedness or myopia affects about one in three people in the UK, and a routine eye test can detect this eye condition.

What is myopia, and what does it mean?

Someone with short sight can see things up close clearly, like when reading, but their vision is blurred when carrying out tasks that need distance vision, such as watching TV or driving.

Signs and symptoms of myopia

Many people with undiagnosed myopia experience symptoms such as eyestrain or headache when trying to focus on distant objects. People with severe myopia are likely to experience certain conditions later on, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, or cataracts.

How can I know my child has a short sight?

If your child is short-sighted, they may complain about eye strain, fatigue, headaches and difficulty seeing things far away. Even if your child doesn’t complain about headaches or their eyes, you can check for other signs such as eye rubbing, lack of concentration, falling behind with some developmental milestones or schoolwork, or clumsiness.

If you are concerned about your child having myopia, the first step is to take them to an optician for an eye test. Children can get tested at any age, even if the child can’t talk or read.

The optician can use the common letter chart for older children, while younger children can have shapes or pictures. The optician can also assess the extent of your child’s long or short sight by shining a light into the eye using a technique known as retinoscopy.

Causes of myopia

Myopia often occurs when the eye is too long, so the distance between the cornea and retina is too far. This causes the light entering the eye to focus before it reaches the retina, resulting in blurred vision.

Research suggests that the eyes try to adapt to the blurriness by elongating themselves to capture the stray light rays on the retina. This may cause a change in the eye shape, increasing myopia as a child grows.

The is a lot of research on the causes of blurred vision in myopia. Current findings suggest that you are more likely to have myopia if one parent has it. However, the exact person who will or won’t have it is still unclear.

Is myopia curable?

Although no cure is available for myopia, it is easy to correct using contact lenses or glasses with a minus lend power. This lens with a concave shape (curved inwards) helps to improve focus.

You may need to wear contact lenses or glasses all the time or when you need clearer distance vision, such as when watching a film or driving.

Myopia management for children

Myopia detection is usually during a comprehensive eye test, which tests your vision and examines your eyes in detail.

Children with myopia can use contact lenses or glasses which focus central light rays on the retina to correct their vision. The lenses give a clear central vision, but some peripheral light rays still focus behind the retina, making images in that part of the retina blurry.

Myopia management may be an option for a child with myopia. This program aims to reduce myopia progression. It involves using specialist glasses lenses or contact lenses to prevent myopia from progressing in children.

Managing nearsightedness with contact lenses and glasses

Depending on your preference and lifestyle, several myopia contact lenses or glasses lenses are available. Some options available include:

Both products above contain technology that focuses light differently from normal contact lenses and glasses. They can help reduce the elongation of the eye and potentially reduce the extent of short-sightedness in the child.

Your eye doctor will discuss your options and help you choose the most suitable product.

If you do not see far objects clearly or notice certain signs of nearsightedness in your child, schedule an appointment at Optimal Vision for an eye exam. You can visit us today or call us on 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment at our eye clinic.

What is the difference between nearsightedness and far-sightedness?

Short-sightedness, also called myopia, makes distant objects appear out of focus, but closer objects are clearer.

Far-sightedness, also called hypermetropia or hyperopia, also affects the ability to see close-by objects. This means people with this eye condition can see distant objects clearly, but nearby objects are out-of-focus.

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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