Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is vision problem currently affecting an estimated two billion people worldwide. Some experts estimate that the condition may affect up to half of the world’s population by 2050. The following looks at ways you can protect your vision as well has how to identify warning signs that indicate you should see your eyecare professional for a comprehensive eye exam.
What is Nearsightedness?
Myopia is a refractive error of the eye. The light entering the eye does not focus properly in a single point on the retina. Instead, the light focuses slightly in front of the retina. As a result, near objects appear clear, but distant objects are blurry and out of focus. People can develop the condition at any age; however, it is typically first diagnosed in children and often worsens during the teenage years as the body grows and changes rapidly.
The most common symptoms of myopia include:
- Blurry vision when looking off into the distance.
- Frequent squinting.
- Difficulty seeing when driving. This is often more noticeable at night.
- Frequent headaches due to eyestrain.
- Blinking or rubbing eyes excessively.
- Sitting too close to the TV, holding books overly close, or having to sit in the front of the classroom in order to see.
The best tool for diagnosing nearsightedness is a comprehensive eye exam conducted by a qualified eye care professional. During a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will check your eyes for various refractive errors as well as common eye conditions, including:
- Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia
- Crossed eyes, also known as strabismus
- Diabetic eye disease
A comprehensive eye exam is different than a vision screening that may be conducted by school nurses or other health care providers. Vision screenings provide a basic measure of visual acuity, but they do not identify the particular condition that may be affecting the vision.
The most common treatment for near vision problems are corrective lenses.
You cannot necessarily prevent near vision problems; however, you can take steps to protect your eyes and slow the progression of the condition.
- Limit the amount of time that you spend looking at your computer, cell phone, tablet, and other devices. Take a break at least every 15 minutes to focus off into the distance.
- Get regular comprehensive eye exams, especially if you are experiencing difficulty seeing, eye pain, or any other symptoms involving the eye.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
At Brandon Cataract Center and Eye Clinic, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional care and personal service. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.