Myopia: Symptoms and Treatment Options

Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back, making it difficult to see things that are far away. Myopia is the most common refractive error among children and adults, with roughly 40 percent of the population needing glasses or contacts. Myopia, also called nearsightedness, starts to develop during childhood or adolescence.

Unlike other eye conditions, nearsightedness is generally not serious and can be easily treated. Let’s learn more about the symptoms to pay attention to and the treatment options available.

Common Symptoms of Myopia

Myopia can happen to anyone, though it tends to run in families and worsens during childhood and adolescence. Researchers have discovered 24 genetic risk factors for myopia. A simple eye exam can confirm the condition. Usually, people notice symptoms before being diagnosed. They include:

-Blurry vision when looking at distant objects

-Needing to squint to see objects clearly

-Headaches from eye strain

-Difficulty seeing at night

-Excessive blinking

-Frequent rubbing of eyes

Treatments for Myopia

If you are diagnosed with nearsightedness, there are several treatments available. It’s important to manage this condition because it can lead to other complications such as cataracts, retinal tears and retinal detachment. Below we discuss the most common treatment options for myopia.

-Eyeglasses and contact lenses. Glasses and contacts are the safest and easiest way to correct vision caused by nearsightedness. Various types of glasses and contacts are available, so talk to your ophthalmologist about which options are best. Many people with myopia wear a combination of both.

-Refractive surgery. Refractive surgery includes LASIK, LASEK and PRK procedures that use laser light to reshape the cornea and reduce nearsightedness. Talk to your eye doctor about the pros and cons to refractive surgery and if you are a candidate.

-Topical medication (atropine). Atropine drops are used to dilate the pupils as part of routine eye exams. Research shows that a low dose may slow the progression of myopia as well.

-Orthokeratology. This procedure can prevent myopia from getting worse. With it, gas permeable contacts are worn for several hours a day until cornea’s shape changes. Then, the lenses are worn less often to maintain the shape and improve vision.

Myopia is a common condition that affects children and adults of all ages. Fortunately, most people are successfully treated by wearing glasses and contacts or having refractive surgery. If you have myopia, it’s important to see your eye doctor each year to watch for vision changes or new symptoms that could put you at risk for retinal tears or detachment.