Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a vision condition that is common in many Canadians. In fact, across North America, approximately 40 percent of adults suffer from some degree of myopia. While the exact cause of nearsightedness in the modern age is not known, many believe the prevalence of modern technology such as computers, notebooks, and smart devices that are held at close range has had some effect.
Myopia occurs when light entering the pupil of the eye, the area that shapes and focuses light to the back of the eye, or retina, does not bend the light correctly and light falls outside the retinal area. This causes items in close to medium ranges to be visible and in focus, with objects at distant ranges out of focus or blurry.
Symptoms of Myopia
As mentioned above, a major symptom of myopia is the inability to focus on distant objects. Other symptoms can include eye strain and headaches when performing activities that require you to focus at range, such as driving or watching a sporting event from the stands; while items at close range are comfortable to view, such as using a computer or reading a book.
As well, in children, myopia symptoms can present themselves in non-obvious ways. If your child constantly needs to sit at the front of the classroom to read a teacher’s notes, seems to be unaware of distant objects, and rubs their eyes constantly and blinks a lot when looking at distant objects, these are all possible symptoms of myopia.
Treatment of Myopia
The most common form of treatment for myopia is corrective eyewear or contact lenses. Multiple strengths of corrective vision are available for almost any degree of myopia, making this vision condition a very manageable one.
Surgical options exist as well, such as laser eye surgery (LASIK), or a specialized procedure called a photorefractive keratectomy, where a laser removes a layer of cornea in a very specific shape to flatten the angle of light entering the eye by a minuscule amount, allowing light to register correctly on the cornea.