Myopia, or nearsightedness, means that without glasses or contact lenses your sight is better at near than at far. In other words, it is easier to obtain clear focus when objects are closer to you than when they are farther away. Nearsightedness has been associated with higher levels of education, and has become pandemic in Asian countries and other cultures where a high premium is placed on sustained close work such as reading.
Three main types of Myopia
- Type I is present at birth or develops shortly thereafter in one or both eyes. This is typically a more severe form of myopia and less influenced by how we use our eyes.
- Type II is acquired or functional myopia. When acquired at a young age, this myopia may be due to heredity, but its development depends on environmental influences.
- Type III, which is associated with disease conditions such as diabetes, is rare and transient. It is often due to swelling of the major optical elements of the eye – the cornea or the lens.
Research has shown that the degree of Type II (functional) myopia experienced by some patients is a result of their response to visual demands. Extended periods of reading or viewing computer screens for sustained periods of time, with little physical activity, encourages the progression of nearsightedness at virtually any age. Over time, the eyes’ focusing mechanism shifts inward, sacrificing distance clarity for near clarity. Examining how you focus without drops in place and comparing it to how your focus changes with drops that put your focus to rest can provide important clues about myopia. Our office also uses specialized technology, the Grand Seiko open view autorefractor, to directly measure focusing at near and compare it to distance focusing.
Treatment for Myopia
Myopia may be treated with lenses, prisms, visual hygiene, vision therapy, corneal reshaping therapy, diluted atropine eye drops, or surgery. Some patients are simply more comfortable with a prescription that doesn’t provide 20/20 eyesight. Even though things far away may be sharp, the prescription may feel too strong and is uncomfortable. We accord patients the respect of participating in this decision process. Following a thorough evaluation, our doctors present options through which patients can make an informed choice about all possible treatment approaches suitable to their needs and condition.