Myopia is commonly known as nearsightedness. It means you have difficulty seeing things that are far away. With myopia you can see clearly up close unless you have another condition that affects your close vision, such as presbiopia or astigmatism. Most myopia begins in childhood, but some factors can cause myopia to develop later in life. In adults, myopia can be corrected with laser eye surgery including LASIK.

Myopia and Your Cornea

Your cornea bends light as it enters your eye. A properly shaped cornea focuses that light on the retina. If you are nearsighted your cornea is either too curved or your eye is too long, causing the light to focus in front of the retina. When the light reaches your retina it has started to spread out again and the image is blurry.

Eyeglasses for nearsightedness have concave lenses. This spreads out the light before it reaches the cornea, so it travels farther back in the eye before it is focused.

Laser vision correction reshapes the cornea so it can focus the light properly on the retina.

What Causes Myopia?

Nearsightedness is the most common of all vision problems and affects about 30% of Americans. In the last few decades it has become more common throughout the world. The causes of myopia are uncertain, and the subject has become quite controversial.

Heredity seems to play a large role. Children of myopic parents are more likely to be nearsighted.

Lifestyle may contribute to myopia, as well. Long periods of close work, such as reading, looking at the computer screen, and possibly even watching television, may affect how a child’s eyeball develops as they grow.

It is also believed that a diet high in simple carbohydrates increases your chance of developing myopia, due to too much insulin circulating in the bloodstream (hyperinsulinemia). Hyperinsulinemia is also common in people with type II diabetes and insulin resistance. Late developing myopia is sometimes an early warning sign of diabetes risk and can eventually develop into cataracts.

Complications of Myopia

For most people myopia is an inconvenience, but relatively harmless and easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. If corrective lenses are too much of a hassle, laser eye surgery is an option as well.

However, myopia can lead to more serious eye conditions, vision loss, and even blindness. People with myopia have an increased likelihood of developing glaucoma and retinal detachment.

Correcting Myopia

Typically, your eye doctor will prescribe glasses and/or contact lenses to correct your vision. Eye exercises can help improve your vision, especially when eye strain from close tasks such as long hours of computer use is a factor.

Laser vision correction can allow you to see clearly 24/7, without the hassle of wearing glasses or contacts.