Myopia (Nearsightedness)

What is myopia?

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a visual condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus.

Why does myopia occur?

When your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, light entering the eye is not focused properly on the retina – the sensory layer – inside the eye. Myopia may be hereditary or it may occur spontaneously.

How common is myopia?

Myopia is a very common visual condition that affects nearly 30 per cent of the Canadian population. It normally starts during childhood and continues to increase until the individual reaches the age of 20.

Will I have to wear glasses?

You may need glasses for distance only or full time as the prescription increases to enable you to see more clearly. If your condition warrants, your optometrist will prescribe corrective lenses for you. You may only need them for certain activities, like watching television, going to a movie or driving a car.

Will glasses or contact lenses cure myopia?

Eyeglasses or contact lenses optically correct the problem by altering the way the image enters your eyes, but they do not cure myopia. At present there are no proven cures for nearsightedness. Surgical procedures such as LASIK, PRK or SBK, and/or lens implants may eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses.

How is myopia diagnosed?

People with myopia will often have trouble seeing the whiteboard, the movie screen, the television set or other distant objects. When your optometrist gives you a comprehensive eye examination, they will include tests to determine if there is a prescription for myopia.

How will myopia affect my lifestyle?

If glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, it may take up to two weeks to adjust to seeing clearly with them. Some people with myopia may find that they are restricted from some occupations (for example, police officers or fire fighters), due to their inability to see properly if their glasses fall off. In these cases, laser surgery may be useful. Contact lenses are very helpful for correcting nearsightedness and are ideal for people with more active lifestyles.