Eye myopia, or near-sightedness, as it is often called, is one of the most common and annoying eye ailments.
It is due to muscular imbalance. The myopic eyeball is elongated by pressure of the two oblique muscles which bind the eyeball about the middle. Because of the tightness of these muscles, the parallel rays of light are brought to a focus at a point in front of the retina. The result is blurred, distorted vision when trying to see a distant object. Myopia, in other words, involves a strain to see at the far point and it is our task to stretch the vision.
When the eyes are fitted with lenses, the light rays focus on the retina as in normal vision. But-since the shape of the eyeball remains unchanged-the cause of the difficulty is not remedied. On the contrary, the eyeball becomes more elongated as time goes on, and lenses must be made stronger and stronger to counteract the increasing myopia of the eye.
Myopia usually appears in school children between the ages of eight and fifteen. The reason appears to be that during puberty the child's physical and nervous system is undergoing such drastic changes that the anxieties and fears often accomplicing the confinement and competition of the school room create an entirely new series of strains.
These strains, in turn, are potent factors in the development of myopia and other visual defects. The effort to see words on the blackboard, fear of being unable to solve the problem as quickly as Mary or Johnny, dread of failure-all of these elements give rise to certain mental and physical tensions that, more often than not, result in the child's inability to see what is on the blackboard.
The result is that the child begins to strain to see, to develop a stooping post as he crouches lower and lower over his book or trips with head down, trying to see the sidewalk. He develops heads and nervous habits. Half-closing his eyes, he squints in an appeavor to clear his vision.
Little by little he begins to reveal the emotional characteristics of eye myopia. He withdraws from competitive games and places by himself. He draws into his shell, contented with his contracted world. He emerges from it only reluctantly and after persistent effort on the part of his anxious parents.
Too often the well-intentioned parents hustle the child off to the ophthalmologist who fits him with glasses. It is always an unpleasant sight to observe a child's face behind spectacles. Automatically, they cut him off from many games and forms of exercise which the growing body needs. But away from that, the vision generally gets worse and the glasses are increased in strength until, some ten or fifteen years later, the patient's eyes have lost much of their power of accommodation. The nerves and muscles of the eyes, depending on their glasses, have lost all flexibility of movement.
Because every part of the body reacts on every other, it is important-especially so with myopia-to check on your posture. This business of stooping over as you walk and bending forward as you read does not help you to see. Actually, it impedes vision because the cramped neck muscles cut off the circulation of blood to the brain and the eyes.
Another effect of the stooping posture of myopes is that it promises to create an attitude of inferiority and failure. With your head bent down and your eyes peering up you are constantly in the physical position of a person looking up at a situation which is too big for him. Naturally, this creates a sensation of inadequacy.
Stand erect and look straight ahead. It gives you a new focus. You see better because you have the proper circulation to the eyes, and along with it you have gained a feeling of confidence. The situation is not too big for you-you are now on a physical par with it.
Relaxation exercises for the eyes can also often help improve eye myopia.