Jan 11, 2022

What’s the deal with nearsightedness?

By Dr. Joshua Mali

  • What are the symptoms of nearsightedness?

The main symptoms of nearsightedness (or myopia) are unable to see far away objects, eyestrain, squinting to bring things into focus, or headaches. Common symptoms reported by patients with myopia include being unable to clearly see the board in the classroom, TV across the room, clock on the wall, or road signs from a distance. The spectrum of symptoms are directly related to the degree of myopia. For example, people that are more nearsighted will have more difficulties than people with only minimal myopia.

  • What are the causes and risk factors for myopia?

The main cause of myopia is related to the anatomy of the eye. There are two major anatomical features that cause myopia: The length of the eye is too long, the cornea of the eye is too steep, or both. These structural changes in the eye cause the light coming in to be bent in front of the retina instead of on the retina. Therefore, the image sent to the brain will be blurred and not in focus. The major risk factors for myopia are structural changes from eye diseases such as infantile glaucoma, Stickler syndrome, keratoconus, Marfan Syndrome, and retinopathy of prematurity requiring laser treatment for example. Additionally, genetic and environmental factors play a role in myopia development and progression in children and adults. Furthermore, children of nearsighted parents are likely to develop myopia.

Myopia affects millions of people and is a condition to be aware of and to follow up with your eye care professional.

Joshua Mali, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and award-winning vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multi-specialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, Florida. He is the Retina Medical Director of the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA). He is also the Founder & CEO of Mali Enterprises (www.malienterprises.org).

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