Also known as myopia, nearsightedness is a common vision condition that affects about 40% of the U.S. population. When you’re nearsighted, you see close objects clearly, but you struggle to see things off in the distance. You’ll notice it most when you’re trying to read signs on the road or while watching the credits roll after a movie. But no worries… it’s easily fixed with corrective lenses—eyeglasses or contact lenses in the right prescription will have you seeing your world in perfect clarity.
Myopia occurs when your eyeball is longer than normal, or when your cornea is too curved for the length of your eyeball, or even if your lens is too thick. This means that the shape of your eye doesn’t bend light correctly and causes the incoming light rays to focus images at a point in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This irregularity in the shape of your which is also called a focusing error, is what makes your distance vision blurry. Though experts don’t completely understand why this happens in some people and not in others, it’s a known fact that heredity plays a role in passing myopia down from parent to child.
Myopia symptoms vary from one person to another. For most people these are the most common signs of nearsightedness:
• Difficulty reading road signs or images on a white board or screen at work
• Persistent squinting or closing your eyes to see distant objects
• Eyestrain or headaches when watching tv
Treating nearsightedness is easy and the first step is scheduling an eye exam. Your doctor may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your symptoms so you can see clearly. If you’re dealing with both presbyopia (aging eyesight) and nearsightedness, your best option might be progressive lenses which give you near and far vision in one lens.
Your eyes, like every part of you, change as you get older so if you’ve been diagnosed with nearsightedness, make sure to get an eye exam every year to keep your prescription up-to-date. And of course, if you begin to notice little things like headaches, squinting and just having a hard time concentrating, give your optometrist a call. You may just need a new prescription.
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