Shortsightedness, also known as myopia or nearsightedness, is a vision disorder in which you cannot see far objects but can see near objects. It is a condition that occurs when the shape of the eye causes the light rays to refract or bend abnormally, thus focusing the image of the object in front of the retina other than on the retina. Generally, myopia may develop rapidly or gradually, with its effects worsening during adolescence and childhood. It is also said to be a genetic condition whereby if your parents are suffering from this condition, the probability of you or your children suffering from it is also high. Here are additional details to note about myopia.

Causes of nearsightedness

Normally, the lens and cornea of your eye are the main focusing elements to ensure the image of the object under vision is formed on your retina. However, for this to happen, both the cornea and lens are supposed to have a perfectly smooth curvature to bend all the incoming light to form a highly focused image directly at the back of the eye. But in people with shortsightedness, the focusing elements have problems as described below:

· Refractive error

A refractive error occurs when your lens and cornea are not smoothly or evenly curved therefore refracting light abnormally. This abnormal refraction leads to image formation in front of the retina other than your retina, resulting in a blurry image.

· Astigmatism

It is a condition that occurs when your lens is steeply curved in one direction, leading to blurred vision.

Symptoms of shortsightedness

· Headaches or migraine resulting from eyestrain

· Blurred vision when looking at far objects

· The need to slightly close your eyes or squint to see clearly

· Inability to see clearly while driving, mostly at night

Myopia is usually diagnosed during childhood, early school, and teenage years. A kid with myopia, therefore:

· Squints persistently

· Needs to sit near a movie screen, television, or in front of the classroom to see clearly

· Frequently rubs their eyes

· Seeming not to know the presence of far objects.

Control and treatment of myopia

The treatment and management of myopia have greatly advanced over the past years. There are three main ways of treating shortsightedness: cornea reshaping or myopia control, corrective lenses, and laser refractive surgery. Click on to understand more about the treatment options available and how they function.

· Corrective lenses

Most people, approximately seventy percent, wear contact lenses and eyeglasses. The main purpose of wearing these corrective lenses is to correct the refractive error.

· Myopia control / corneal reshaping

Treatment of astigmatism and myopia is by wearing special contact lenses at night to correct the refractive error and reshape your cornea. Atropine eye drops are also effective in slowing the progress of myopia in children. Low doses of atropine dilate the pupil and paralyze the muscles above your eye, temporarily controlling myopia.

· Laser refractive surgery

Laser refractive surgery is a permanent and long-lasting solution to myopia. It is usually a minimally invasive procedure that is quite safe.

Of importance is understanding that you can prevent your children from suffering from myopia by allowing them to spend more time outdoors, get good quality and enough sleep every day, routine and timely eye check-ups, and engage in enough physical activities each day. Therefore, always ensure you and your child participate in the above practices to fight myopia.