What is Myopia?

Myopia, a refractive condition that causes light to focus in front of the eye’s retina, is the most common eye disorder in the world. If you suffer from myopia, or short-sightedness, you’ll most likely struggle to see far away objects clearly, but have no problem seeing things close to hand. You can probably read perfectly well without glasses but need them for watching television or driving, for example.

As children, we’re born long-sighted, but as we grow we naturally become more short-sighted. However, if you weren’t long-sighted enough to begin with then your eyes overshoot and become officially short-sighted. The condition tends to run in families and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Myopia is a result of the eye being slightly too long, meaning that light focuses in front of the retina rather than directly on it.

Who’s at Risk of Developing Myopia?

  • Young children: Myopia will typically present itself in the primary school years and will usually get worse until the eye stops growing. It’s not uncommon for myopia to develop in very young children.
  • Adults: Anyone whose parents were short-sighted are at risk of developing myopia.

What are the Symptoms of Myopia?

Short-sightedness may become obvious in children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. During the teenage years, myopia can worsen, but between the ages of 20 and 40, the condition will usually stabilise.

If myopia is significant and left untreated, common symptoms can include:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Difficulty seeing objects in the distance such as road signs or whiteboards at school

If you live in Cambridge or the surrounding area and are experiencing any of the symptoms of myopia, please book an eye exam with a Taank Optometrist today.

Myopia in Children

According to the College of Optometrists, incidence of myopia in children between the ages of 10 and 16 has more than doubled in the UK in the last 50 years.

Children with short-sighted parents are at increased risk of developing myopia. Children’s eyes grow very slowly after birth until approximately 12 to 13 years old. Myopia typically presents during the primary school years and often gets worse until the eye is fully grown and myopia can increase suddenly if there has been a growth spurt. Wearing glasses when young will only help children see more comfortably and won’t make their eyes worse.

Research has shown that children who spend time outdoors are less likely to become myopic, or if they do, they’re less myopic. The sunlight is thought to increase a chemical called dopamine in the retina which affects eye growth.

Treating Myopia in Cambridge

Short-sightedness is typically corrected with glasses or contact lenses. They work by re-focusing light rays on your retina, thereby compensating for the shape of your eye.

If you’re severely short-sighted laser surgery or artificial lens implants can be an option. Get in touch for more information.

Ask an Expert

Myopia or short-sightedness is very common and easy to treat. If you struggle to focus on objects in the distance or are concerned about your vision while driving, please book an eye exam  or call us for more information.