Myopia (Nearsightedness)

 

What Is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where close objects appear clearly, but distant objects appear blurry. Myopia often progresses throughout the teenage years when the body (including the eye) is growing rapidly.  People with myopia have a higher risk of detached retina and glaucoma.

Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing distant objects

Causes

Myopia occurs when the image formed by the focusing mechanisms of the eye is “in front” of the retina.  This often occurs if an eye is longer than average.

Risk Factors

A major risk factor for myopia is a family history of myopia.  Some genetic disorders, such as Marfan Syndrome, have a high association with myopia.  Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is also a risk factor for development of myopia later in life.

Tests and Diagnosis

Myopia is diagnosed by a careful refraction by an eye care professional.

Treatment and Drugs

Myopia is commonly treated using corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery can also be used to correct myopia.

Reviewed by Jill E. Bixler, M.D.