Myopia: What Is It?

Do you have problems seeing objects in the distance, such as highway signs, until you are just a few feet away, but you don’t have any issues reading a book close to you? More than likely, you are nearsighted, also known as myopic. This is a common condition that an eye professional can remedy with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or eye surgery.

What Exactly Causes Myopia?

The culprit is the structure of your eye. If your eyeball is too long or your cornea is too curved, the light that will enter the eye will be unable to properly focus. Images will focus in the front of your retina, which is the light sensitive area of the eye, as opposed to directly on your retina. This can result in blurred vision, which is also called a refractive error.

  • High Myopia – This is a more serious form of myopia, and it involves the eyeball growing more than intended, becoming longer front to back. Apart from making it difficult to see things in the distance, it can increase the chances of having other eye-related conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and a detached retina.
  • Degenerative Myopia – Also referred to as malignant or pathological myopia, this is a rare type that is typically inherited from your parents. The eyeball will get longer quickly, and the result is severe myopia, generally by the teenage or young adult years. This particular form of myopia can worsen well into adulthood. Apart from making it difficult to see at a distance, it increases the chance of having glaucoma, a detached retina, and abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye.


Generally, the only symptoms that you will have is that objects in the distance will be blurry. However, you may experience other symptoms, including the following:

  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain and fatigue when attempting to see objects that are more than several feet away
  • Difficult reading the chalkboard or whiteboard at school (for children)

Diagnosis and Treatment

An eye examination will inform you whether you are myopic. Generally, the problem can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. With myopia, your prescription for eyeglasses or contacts will have a negative number. The higher the negative number, the stronger the lenses will be. For instance, -4.00 is stronger than -3.50.

Your prescription assists the eye focus light on the retina, which helps to clear up the vision.

Eye surgery can boost your vision so much that you may not require glasses or contacts any longer. The two most common procedures for nearsightedness are as follows:

  • Photorefractive Keratectomy – Also referred to as PRK, this particular form of surgery utilizes a laser to sculpt the middle layer of the cornea, which flattens the curve of the cornea and allows light rays to focus closer to or sometimes on the retina.
  • LASIK – This surgical procedure is the most common for myopia. A surgeon will utilize a laser or another type of cool to form a thin flap on the top layer of the cornea. The surgeon will then sculpt the cornea with a second laser and then move the flap back into its original location.

Does Myopia Improve Over Time?

Myopia tends to run in families and typically begins in childhood. As a general rule, it stops changing after the teenager years, though this is not always the case. If you notice any changes in your overall vision, it is important to see us at Performance Vision and have your eyes checked. You should be undergoing a routine examination once a year.