What is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness is a condition that affects the vision and occurs when the light that enters the eye does not focus correctly on the retina.  The light rays focus at a point which is located in front of the retina and this makes objects that are distant appear indistinct.

This condition is a refractive error of the eye.  Basically, it means that nearsighted people have a hard time seeing objects that are far away. However, people who are nearsighted can see objects near to them clearly.

Another name for this condition is myopia.

What are the Symptoms of Nearsightedness?

When a person who has nearsightedness sees objects that are far away appear blurry.  Sometimes they need to squint in order to make the objects appear clear enough to become identifiable.

First signs of nearsightedness can easily be seen in younger children or teenagers.  They may complain that they cannot see the objects that teacher is using to teach the class (such as blackboards, presentation boards, and so on). If left untreated, it will get worse over the years. People who have nearsightedness may experience headaches and eyestrain.

Often, people who are nearsighted have to change prescriptions for glasses.  This usually stops somewhere in the twenties when people stop growing.

Nearsightedness Causes

Nearsightedness can be caused by a steeply curved cornea or an eye that’s too long, causing the light rays that enter your eyes to focus in front of your retina, rather than on the retina. This causes blurry vision and the reason this happens isn’t fully known, but researchers believe an inherited gene or certain environmental conditions could cause it.

Nearsightedness could also be due to a refractive error – when light rays are not refracted correctly. If your lens isn’t as smooth or evenly curved as it should be, this could cause a refractive error. Some examples of refractive errors include hypertrophia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Farsightedness causes nearsightedness when the curve of your cornea isn’t curved enough or your eye isn’t long enough from front to back. Astigmatism is when your cornea curves more sharply in one direction and causes blurry vision.

How is Nearsightedness Treated?

The main form of treatment for nearsightedness is simply correcting the defect by wearing eye glasses.  Contact lenses may be used as well.  This helps to shift the focus of the light image so that it makes the image clearer.

Surgery is another option.  It is called LASIK surgery and involves the use of an excimer laser that will flatten the cornea and shift the focus, allowing you to see far away images clearly.

Nearsightedness Prevention

Although nearsightedness cannot be prevented, there are steps you can take to slow the progression of it. Protecting your eyes from the sun is of utmost importance, as is getting your eyes checked regularly. You can protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV radiation protection, as well as by wearing protective eyewear when you’re doing anything that could potentially cause further damage to your eyes. For instance, when playing sports or painting, consider wearing protective shields over your eyes.

Reduce any strains on your eyes by wearing glasses or contacts to correct any vision problems. If you work for long periods of time at your computer, look away from it every couple of minutes. Reading can also put a strain on the eyes, so take frequent breaks when reading for long stretches of time.

Eating plenty of fruits and leafy green vegetables can provide great benefits for your eye health. A diet high in fish (like salmon and tuna) offers plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which contributes to better eye health.