Myopia, unlike normal acuity, occurs when the cornea/lens is too curved or the eye is too long. This causes light to focus in front of the retina, resulting in blurry distance vision. Reading vision is normally very good.
Myopia is a very common condition that affects nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. It normally starts to appear between the ages of eight and 12 years old, and almost always before the age of 20. As the body grows, the condition often worsens. It typically stabilizes in adulthood.
Nearsightedness that develops in adulthood is more likely to be the result of visual stress and may be related to eye focusing or eye coordination problems. For example, the visual stress caused by hours of daily reading and/or close work required by higher education, professional schools, or certain occupations can induce nearsightedness in some adults.
Nearsighted children often are not aware that they are not seeing as well as they should. They think that everyone sees the world just as they do. Vision problems may not become evident until they begin to have difficulty seeing the board in school or do poorly in sports.
Many times, myopia is diagnosed during school screenings. Sometimes parents notice that their children are having difficulty seeing street signs or the television. Dr. Mayer can conduct a refractive evaluation to determine whether your eyes focus light rays exactly on the retina at distance and near. A visual acuity test will determine your ability to see sharply and clearly at all distances. Dr. Mayer will also check your eye coordination and muscle control, as well as your eyes' ability to change focus. All of these are important factors in how your eyes see.
Generally includes the use of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses to restore clear distance vision. In some cases -- with either children or adults -- special single focus or bifocal lenses are recommended to help (1) reduce visual stress from close activities, and (2) prevent or slow the progression of nearsightedness. Bifocals can definitely be a help for many, especially those that have a tendency for their eyes to cross (esophoria).
In some cases, problems with eye focusing, eye coordination, or visual function can contribute to the development or progression of nearsightedness. In such cases, a program of Vision Therapy can be used to slow the progression or reduce the severity of nearsightedness. Vision Therapy is used to treat both children and adults.
Corneal Molding can be another means of reducing myopia.
For adults, a number of laser and other surgical procedures are also available to reduce reliance on eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Good visual hygiene, including reading with good posture, using good lighting, and taking frequent short breaks during reading or any other close activity, are considered to be helpful in preventing or reducing the progression of myopia, particularly in children. Diet and supplements can also help.