It is quite normal for anyone to appreciate objects closer to the eye than those farther. Of course, there’s always that point at which is too close or just too far. Short-sightedness is different from this. Objects near are very clear, but objects far away appear very blurry. In this case, these objects are at a normal distance far from the eyes. In other words, a perfectly normal eye should have no problems seeing these objects.
Myopia (Short-sightedness) is a common condition caused by incorrect bending or refraction of light rays by the eye lens. This makes the images focus in front of the retina, instead of on it.
It is often detected in childhood and you may notice that a child squints persistently or blinks a lot. They may also rub their eye frequently or draw as close as possible to the TV during TV time. In class, they always try to sit as close as possible to the board.
What Causes Myopia?
Let’s get some understanding of how the eye works. Two structures in the eye work in focusing images, the cornea and the lens. The cornea is that dome-shaped front surface of your eye. The lens is inside the eye and is about the size and shape of an M&M’s candy. In a normal eye, these structures are well curved to bend all incoming light. This makes well-formed and focused images that land directly on the retina.
What happens if either structure is not well curved? There is a problem with seeing. In the case of myopia, the eyeball is longer than normal or the lens curve is too steep. Hence, objects are focused in front of, instead of on the retina, causing a blurry appearance for far objects.
Try to see a doctor if you have any of the signs already discussed. Inability to see distant objects clearly can affect one’s quality of life. Imagine not being able to perform an important task like driving to work because of poor eyesight. If one attempts this, you may be putting your life and that of others in danger. Headaches are common in people who are nearsighted and this is always disturbing.
In rare cases, retinal detachment can complicate myopia. This is a medical emergency and must be treated as such. Warning signs include flashes of light in one or both eyes, the sudden appearance of specks that drift through one’s field of vision, and a curtain-like shadow over one’s visual field. Other complications include glaucoma, cataracts, and damage in the center of the retina known as myopic maculopathy.
Another burden of the condition to consider is the financial aspect. The cost of exams and treatment can take a toll on one’s finances.
Diagnosis And Treatment
A basic eye exam is enough to diagnose the condition. The exam includes a refraction assessment and a health eye exam. The former determines the presence of refractive errors like short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism.
If myopia is diagnosed, treatment is geared towards better refraction so that objects will focus on the retina. This may involve the use of prescription lenses like eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Refractive surgery is another option. The surgeon will use a laser beam to reshape the cornea to correct the refractive error. This has the potential to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses.
Discuss your options with your health care provider so that you can make the right decision.