What is Myopia?

26 March 2019

Author: Alex

What is Myopia?

"It is what we commonly know as, short-sightedness or nearsightedness."

Basically meaning only being able to see things up close with clear vision, whilst objects in the distance appear blurry. It is believed to be the most common reason for impaired vision in people below the age of 40, with it affecting 1 in 3 people in the UK. New studies show that Myopia now affects double the amount of children in the UK than it did 50 years ago.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia usually occurs when the eye grows slightly too long or the cornea/lens curving too much for the length of the eyeball. You may have a higher risk of developing myopia when your parents also suffer with short-sightedness.

How Does the Human Eye Work?

  • Light enters the eye through the outer transparent layer of the eyeball which is also known as the cornea.
  • The cornea focuses the light and its refractive ability bends the light so that the rays can pass through the pupil opening in which the light can then enter into the eye.
  • The iris has the ability to maximise and reduce the amount of light that enters the eye, by adjusting its size.
  • The light then moves onto the lens, which adapts its shape for the distance of the objects that the light is reflecting off, whether it be near or far.  
  • Finally the light hits the retina which receives the objects in your view that the light is bouncing off. The retina the transforms this image into electrical pulses which is carried by the optic nerve to the brain.

This process is slightly different for those who suffer with Myopia. As your eyes have grown too long the light that bounces on objects in the distance passes through your cornea, iris and lens, but will hit the retina in a different location instead of the light-sensitive cells directly. Which will leave you with blurry vision for objects in the distance.

Am I increasing my Risk of Developing Myopia?

As previously mentioned, your genetics can play a role in adding to the risk of developing Myopia. If Myopia runs in the family then you will also have a greater risk at developing it.

You need that fresh air. Research has shown people are less likely to develop Myopia when they are exposed to the outdoor light. It is believed that this could be because of the natural light being much brighter.

Take a step back from the screen. Experts believe that consistently working with objects up close, whether it be writing, reading, looking at hand held devices for long periods of time, can increase your chances of developing Myopia.

Myopia Symptoms

Once Myopia starts to develop you will begin to notice objects in the distance becoming blurry. Road signs and licence plates will become unclear and you may find yourself beginning to squint to try and improve your vision. You may also begin to experience headaches after continuous eyestrain. If your prescription continues to change and your long-sight becomes more blurry, you will need to consider obtaining visual aids such as glasses or contact lenses.

Myopia Treatment

With the number of young people developing Myopia growing, it is vital to obtain visual aid to ensure they are able to see clearly with both short-distance and long.

If you are over the age of 18, you may be in range for laser eye treatment to get rid of your short-sightedness. This depends on a variety of things, including pupil size and if your prescription changes frequently; all of which is run through with you in a consultation. 

Back to Blog