Myopia or nearsightedness is a condition when a person can not see far away objects clearly, while closer objects are usually seen with much better clarity. This happens due to the abnormal elongation of an eyeball which results in light rays from distant objects focusing in front of retina and projecting blurry image on it. This is one of the most common eye problems in the world as almost one-third of the world's population is affected by myopia.
A myopic person usually finds it very difficult to see distant objects like traffic signs or other objects like blackboards or display boards which may cause symptoms like headache, eyestrain and fatigue. A degree of myopia can range from mild cases when affected people usually see everything, but are unable to read distant signs to more severe cases when person is unable to recognize people and generally function properly without corrective glasses or lenses.
There are many different causes of nearsightedness. The majority of medical professionals consider myopia to be hereditary, while the excessive eye strain, resulting from focusing the vision on closer objects for longer periods of time, is considered to be only a factor that can worsen the condition. Some professionals believe that the eye strain can be in fact the cause of myopia. This condition is more commonly found in school children, college and university students (intellectual people) who have to spend a lot of time reading books or working on the computers.
The condition usually starts developing slowly during puberty and adolescence. Due to the slow development, many people may overlook the fact that they suffer from myopia in its early phases and believe their vision is perfect, until they start experiencing problems. That is why regular eye exams should be taken from time to time.
Unfortunately myopia is a progressive condition which worsens over time, but usually stabilizes in early adulthood and remains more or less the same through the entire life. There is very little scientific evidence that suggests wearing corrective lenses has any effect on slowing down the progress of myopia.
Myopia is most commonly corrected by wearing eye glasses or contact lenses with divergent properties (so-called minus lenses). Minus lenses have the ability to focus light rays from distant objects on the retina in the myopic eye. There are also more permanent ways of correcting myopia like refractive surgery which consist of laser eye surgery (LASIK, LASEK, PRK, etc.) or surgical implantation of corrective lenses. Refractive surgery significantly increases the quality of life for nearsighted people and reduces their dependence on glasses and contacts, but is not without risks.
There are also eye exercises that can reduce the eye strain and probably slow down the progress of myopia. In some cases they can even reverse the progress of myopia and improve the eyesight, but there is little evidence to support that claim. However it does not hurt to try them out and they are for sure much better and more natural alternative to surgery.