Myopia is also called nearsightedness, because to people who have Myopia nearby objects look clear, but far away objects look blurred. Myopia is not a disease of the eye, but rather a focusing disorder.

What Causes Myopia?

When the shape of the eye is too long in proportion to the curve of the cornea (the eye’s outer covering), light entering the cornea falls short of focusing on the retina (the imaging “screen” at the back of the eye), and Myopia is the result. Imagine a film or slide projection where the image is blurred because the light is not properly adjusted to a focal point on the surface of the screen.

Mild cases are called Low Myopia, while more severe conditions are known as High Myopia.

How Common Is Myopia?

Myopia affects approximately 25 percent of all Americans, so it’s quite common. It’s an inherited condition that often becomes apparent in childhood, between the ages of 8 and 12, though it can become worse in adolescence, when the body is growing rapidly. Myopia can occur later, but usually there is little change between the ages of 20 and 40. High Myopia usually stabilizes by 30.

How Is Myopia Treated?

Myopia (even High Myopia can usually be corrected easily with glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery can sometimes eliminate the need for eyeglasses, or reduce the thickness of corrective lenses needed.

Can Myopia Cause Other Problems?

People with Myopia do have a higher risk of a detached retina, and patients with High Myopia may have a higher than average risk of developing glaucoma or cataracts.