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Myopia (Short-sightedness)

What is Myopia?

Also known as short-sightedness, myopia is the most common refractive error of the eye in which objects in the distance appear blurry and objects close up are seen clearly. An example of someone suffering with myopia would be the inability to read road signs until they are almost driving past them.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long and/or the cornea is too curved. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, instead of reaching the surface of the retina, resulting in blurred vision when trying to focus on an object in the distance.


What are the Symptoms of Myopia?

  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Difficulty seeing long distance
  • Headaches & fatigue when driving or playing sports

If you find yourself squinting and experiencing eye strain when trying to focus on road signage, TV, cinema and classroom white boards, but have no issues with focusing on close up objects like computers or books, then there is a good chance that you have myopia.


How Can I Tell if My Child Has Myopia?

  • Difficulty in reading the board at school
  • Experience eye strain and headaches when playing outdoor games
  • Squinting to see distant objects
  • Poor reading posture

If these symptoms begin to interfere with your daily routine or are present to the point of causing pain, we recommend you to book an appointment with a LASERSIGHT Consultant Optometrist.

How will a LASERSIGHT Doctor Diagnose Myopia?

Your LASERSIGHT doctor will be able to diagnose myopia by conducting a comprehensive eye examination, and eye test involving an eye chart.

Quick Tip: A general eye check-up is recommended once every two years for people over 45 years of age.

What are the Risk Factors of Myopia?

Risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Visual stress
  • Certain health conditions

Myopia is often diagnosed in children between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age, with a further spike in the teenage years when their eyes are growing and changing. Those with parents who have myopia are also at a greater risk of inheriting myopia. Adults aged between 20-40 years of age usually remain short-sighted if they have the condition as a child and may worsen with age.

How do I Prevent the Onset of Myopia?

While there is no proven prevention to hold off the onset of myopia, you should organise regular eye check-ups to ensure that myopia is diagnosed early and treated accordingly.

Other preventative methods include:

  • Taking regular breaks from looking at your computer screen or device
  • Wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection
  • Managing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes

What are the Long Term Implications of Myopia?

In a majority of instances, myopia is an inconvenience and easily treated with laser eye surgery without posing a risk to your overall eye health.

In other cases, myopia can be considered a degenerative condition and can become progressively worse with age. This form of degenerate myopia is also known as malignant or pathological myopia and is usually hereditary. In these cases, the elongation of the eyeball occurs rapidly. Without treatment, you may lose your vision as well as an increased risk of retinal detachment.

What are the Treatment Options for Myopia?

There are several different types of refractive laser eye surgeries that can help improve or correct myopia. Depending on your personal characteristics, the best eye treatment option may vary patient to patient.

  • 1st Generation PRK
    PRK was the first laser refractive procedure before the development of LASIK. It involves applying the laser beam directly to the surface of the cornea to correct different types of astigmatism. PRK can be associated with more discomfort and longer recovery than LASIK, however as it causes less thinning of the cornea, it can be recommended for some patients.
  • 2nd Generation LASIK
    With over 10 million successful procedures performed worldwide, LASIK is the safest and most popular vision correction procedure for refractive errors like myopia. The surgery involves creating a paper thin flap on the front surface of the cornea, before using a laser to permanently reshape the inner layer of the cornea.
  • 2nd Generation Femto-LASIK
    Femto-LASIK is similar to traditional LASIK, except it uses a high precision femtosecond laser to create the paper thin flap on the cornea, rather than a mechanical instrument. Boasting greater safety and accuracy with the ability to create thinner flaps, Femto-LASIK enables more people to be eligible for laser eye surgery and can be a better alternative to LASIK for some patients.
  • 3rd Generation SMILE®
    SMILE® is the 3rd generation of laser vision correction and the first minimally invasive, flapless procedure for the treatment of myopia. As there is no need to create a flap, this advanced technique will benefit patients with thin corneas, dry eyes, contact lens intolerance and those who were previously unsuitable for LASIK.

For patients who aren’t suitable for laser eye surgery, other eye treatment options for myopia include Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) and Intraocular Lens (IOL).

However, no two eyes are the same and so a careful assessment by a qualified Eye Surgeon will help determine what’s best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eye conditions seem so similar, so how can I tell if I am short sighted?

Short sighted people have difficulty in focusing on distant objects clearly. If you are struggling to read road signs from distance, or if your child is finding it hard to play ball games or see well in the class room you should consult an optometrist. How can I tell if my child has Myopia? While a complete eye examination will shed light on the potential presence of myopia, you should stay alert for common signs that may indicate the presence of short sightedness in your child;

  • Squinting to see distant objects
  • Poor reading posture
  • A lack of interest in playing outdoor games or eye strains when doing so
  • Difficulty in reading the board at school

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