Understanding Myopia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

By Gordon Wong, OD on March 05, 2018

Individuals with myopia have clear near vision, but have difficulty seeing things fat a distance. Also referred to as nearsightedness, myopia is one of the most common eye conditions. At Gordon Wong Eye Designs and Optometry in La Jolla, CA, our doctors provide a variety of treatments for myopia, including corrective laser eye surgery and traditional eyewear. Today, we will explore the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for myopia, so you can better understand your options.

digital illustration comparing normal vision to myopia

What Causes Myopia?

Simply stated, myopia is caused by steeply curved corneas or elongated eyeballs. When light enters the eye, it should focus directly on the retina. In those with myopia, the light falls just in front of the retina instead. There are countless theories that suggest certain lifestyle habits or behaviors can actually worsen myopia, but they simply have not been proven to be true. Almost all eye doctors and experts agree that nearsightedness is merely a genetic trait. In fact, if you have an immediate relative with the condition, your chances of having it are significantly increased.

What are the Symptoms of Myopia?

The onset of myopia typically becomes apparent in children at some point between the ages of eight and 12. It may be difficult for a child to explain exactly what they are experiencing, but there are certain tell-tale signs. For example, your child may be nearsighted if you notice him or her squinting frequently. Or perhaps he or she constantly holds digital devices, books, and other objects extremely close to the face. In some cases, a nearsighted individual may complain of frequent headaches due to excessive eye strain.

Diagnosing Myopia

Nearsightedness is detected during a routine eye examination. To determine the degree of myopia, your doctor will perform a variety of assessments, including a visual acuity test and a refraction evaluation. To measure visual acuity, the patient will be asked to read from the eye chart and inform the doctor when they can no longer identify the letters. The refraction test is performed with the help of a Phoropter, which allows the patient to try out lenses of differing strengths while the doctor asks questions. These assessments help the doctor determine which prescription will be most beneficial for the patient.

Treating Myopia

There are several different ways to manage myopia and enjoy improved vision. Although traditional forms of vision correction, such as glasses and contact lenses, have been around the longest, they are still considered the least invasive and most adjustable option. For this reason, corrective eyewear is typically recommended for children and teens, who may experience frequent changes to their vision. Many adults choose contact lenses or glasses as well, because they are cost-effective, dependable, and noninvasive.

Many of our adult patients pursue laser vision correction, such as LASIK, PRK, or implantable contact lenses. Individuals who consider this type of treatment will undergo a comprehensive assessment to determine their eligibility. There are several factors to consider, including your complete medical history, your personal goals, and your expectations of treatment.

Learn More about Myopia Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

If you have difficulty seeing things far away, you probably have myopia. At Gordon Wong Eye Designs and Optometry, we can help you navigate your treatment options, so you can make the best decision based on your personal goals. To schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, call us at (858) 454-4699 or contact us online anytime.

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