Have you noticed that you can read your smartphone easily, only to start squinting when your gaze shifts to distant objects? The problem could be myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, a common eye condition that impacts people of all ages. In this blog, we explain common causes of myopia, symptoms you should watch for, and recommended treatments.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia occurs when there are abnormalities in the structure of your eye. If the cornea is curved too distinctly or the eyeball itself is too long, the light entering the eye doesn’t focus properly. Images are supposed to focus directly on your retina but if you have myopia, they focus in front of it instead.

The exact cause of myopia is unknown, although environmental and/or genetic factors are believed to play a role in its development. According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, approximately 30% of Canadians are myopic.

Common Symptoms of Myopia

 Blurry vision and difficulty making out distant objects are the main symptoms of myopia. Depending on the patient, other symptoms may include headaches, eye strain, and eye fatigue. Standard eye exams can be used to diagnose myopia. The condition is often diagnosed in childhood, but it can also develop in adults due to visual stress or diabetes. A provider will test your eyes’ ability to focus light and measure the power of any corrective lenses you may need.

Does Myopia Worsen As You Get Older?

Myopia usually appears in childhood. Children who develop it often sit close to the television or complain about being unable to read writing on the blackboard at school. The condition often stabilizes during the late teen years, but can get worse as you grow older, requiring you to update your prescription eyewear on a regular basis.

In some cases, myopia develops due to ocular disease. Two common examples are high myopia and degenerative myopia.

High Myopia

High myopia is a serious eye condition that results when your eyeball experiences unusual and excessive growth, making it longer than normal. Not only will you have difficulty seeing objects at a distance, but you may have an increased risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, detached retina, or glaucoma.

Degenerative Myopia

Degenerative myopia, also called malignant or pathological myopia, is a rare eye condition that’s genetic in origin. Your eyeball lengthens over a brief period of time, causing severe myopia by adolescence or early adulthood. In late adulthood, the condition can cause abnormal blood vessel growth, detached retina, and glaucoma.

Take Action Early

Do not wait to act if your child develops symptoms of myopia. The condition gets worse with time, and failure to act early could result in serious eye conditions or even vision loss. An eye exam can detect myopia, which may then be corrected with contacts, glasses, or even refractive surgery. To slow the progression of high myopia, doctors may prescribe atropine eye drops or special contacts.

At UOptical, our services include myopia detection and control. To learn more about how we can work with you to slow down myopia progression, call (416) 292-0075.