The Definition and Causes of Myopia

  • Billy Cobb
  • Mar 29, 2024
The Definition and Causes of Myopia

What Does Myopic Mean?

Myopic is a word commonly used to describe a condition related to nearsightedness. If you are myopic, it means that you are able to see objects that are close to you more clearly than objects that are farther away. This condition occurs when your eye grows too long or the cornea is too curved, which causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. As a result, distant objects appear blurred or fuzzy.

How is Myopia Diagnosed?

Myopia can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a visual acuity test, a refraction test, and an examination of the retina. During a visual acuity test, you will be asked to read letters from a distance chart to determine how well you can see at different distances. A refraction test helps to determine the exact prescription that you need for corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses. Finally, an examination of the retina using special eye drops and a special instrument called an ophthalmoscope checks the interior of your eye and detects any abnormalities that may contribute to myopia.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If one or both of your parents have myopia, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself. However, spending too much time performing close-up activities such as reading or using a computer can also increase your risk of developing myopia. Additionally, some studies have suggested that a lack of outdoor time and exposure to natural light may contribute to the development of myopia in children.

How is Myopia Treated?

The most common treatment for myopia is the use of corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses. These lenses work by adjusting the way that light enters your eye, which helps to focus images on the retina and improve your vision. Another option for treating myopia is refractive surgery, which changes the shape of the cornea to improve the way that light enters your eye. However, this option is typically only recommended for people with moderate to severe myopia who are not happy with their corrective lenses.


Overall, myopia is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. By understanding the causes and treatments available, you can take steps to prevent or manage this condition and enjoy improved vision. If you suspect that you may be myopic, it is important to schedule an eye exam with a qualified eye doctor who can diagnose and treat your condition.

Causes of Myopia

Myopia is a refractive error that affects the ability of the eye to focus on objects in the distance. The condition occurs when the eyeball is too long or the curvature of the cornea is too steep, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. But what causes myopia to develop in the first place?

Genetics: Studies have shown that genetics play a significant role in the development of myopia. Children with one parent who has myopia are two to three times more likely to develop the condition, while those with two myopic parents have a seven-fold increased risk. Certain genes have also been linked to myopia, but researchers are still investigating the specific genetic factors involved.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as prolonged reading, writing, or screen time can contribute to myopia. When the eyes are focused on near objects for long periods of time, it can cause the eyeball to elongate, leading to nearsightedness. Natural light exposure has also been shown to be protective against myopia, with children who spend more time outdoors having a lower risk of developing the condition. Other environmental factors such as diet and stress levels may also play a role in myopia development.

Combination: Myopia may develop as a result of both genetic predisposition and environmental factors. A family history of myopia, combined with increased near work and lack of outdoor activity, may increase the risk of developing the condition. Further research is needed to fully understand the interaction between genes and environment in myopia development.

Other factors such as age, gender, and race may also influence the development of myopia. Myopia typically begins in childhood and tends to worsen during adolescence, but can stabilize in adulthood. Studies have also shown a higher prevalence of myopia in Asians, particularly in countries such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Understanding the causes of myopia is important for prevention and treatment strategies. While genetics cannot be changed, environmental factors can be modified to reduce the risk of developing myopia. Practicing good eye habits such as taking breaks from near work, spending more time outdoors, and eating a healthy diet can all help promote eye health. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of myopia, it is important to see an eye care professional for an eye exam and proper treatment.

Symptoms of Myopia

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition that affects the vision of millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the eye is longer than usual from front to back or when the cornea is too curved. As a result, light entering the eye doesn’t focus properly on the retina, causing distant objects to appear blurry while nearby objects remain clear. Here are some common symptoms of myopia

Blurry Vision

The most common symptom of myopia is blurry vision when looking at objects that are far away. You may have trouble reading road signs, seeing the blackboard in a classroom, or recognizing people’s faces from a distance. Your eyes may also feel strained when you attempt to focus on distant objects.


Myopia can cause eye fatigue and strain, especially when you spend a lot of time reading, writing, or working on a computer. When your eyes are constantly adjusting to see clearly, they can become tired and worn out, leading to headaches, dry eyes, and eye discomfort.


Headaches are a common symptom of myopia, particularly when it’s left untreated. The brain has to work extra hard to interpret the blurry images that your eyes send it, which can cause tension headaches or migraines. You may also feel pain or discomfort around your eyes or temples, especially after long periods of reading or staring at a screen.


People with myopia often squint their eyes to try and improve their vision. Squinting reduces the amount of light entering the eye, which can help to sharpen blurry objects. However, this is only a temporary solution and can strain your eyes over time. Squinting can also cause wrinkles around the eyes and make you appear older than you actually are.

Poor Night Vision

Myopia can also affect your ability to see clearly in low-light conditions, such as at night or in dimly-lit rooms. You may notice that streetlights, car headlights, or other light sources appear to have halos or glare around them, making it difficult to drive or navigate in the dark. This symptom can be particularly dangerous and should be addressed by an eye doctor as soon as possible.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. While myopia is a common condition, it can worsen over time if left untreated, leading to more severe vision problems. Your eye doctor can perform a thorough eye exam and recommend the best treatment options to help you see clearly and comfortably.

Treatment for Myopia

If you have myopia, popularly known as nearsightedness, you may be able to see anything up close but have great difficulty seeing things far away. This condition occurs when your eyeball is too long, or the cornea is too curved. As a result, light rays entering the eye focus too soon in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurred vision. The good news is that myopia is treatable. Treatment options for myopia include corrective lenses, refractive surgery, and orthokeratology.

Corrective Lenses

Corrective lenses are the most common treatment for myopia. If you have mild to moderate myopia, your optometrist may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. These lenses refract light before it enters your eyes, adjusting the focus to the right position, and providing a clearer image. Eyeglasses with anti-glare coatings reduce the amount of glare that bounces off your lenses, preventing eye strain and fatigue. Likewise, contact lenses come in various forms, from the soft contact lens to gas permeable contact lenses.

Refractive Surgery

Refractive surgery changes the shape of the cornea and recalibrates how the eye focuses light, making images appear sharper and clearer. There are several refractive surgeries available for myopia, including LASIK, PRK, and SMILE. LASIK involves cutting a flap in the cornea, reshaping the underlying tissue with a laser, and repositioning the flap. PRK, on the other hand, removes the cornea’s outermost layer before reshaping it with a laser. SMILE is a newer procedure for myopia correction that uses a laser to remove a small piece of tissue from the cornea to reshape it. Refractive surgery requires a thorough evaluation with an ophthalmologist to determine the right treatment for you.


Orthokeratology, or ortho-K for short, is a non-surgical, non-invasive alternative to refractive surgery and traditional eyeglasses/contact lenses. It is also known as corneal reshaping or overnight vision correction. The process involves the use of a specially designed contact lens that you wear overnight while you sleep. The contact lens reshapes the cornea, allowing the eye to focus more accurately on distant objects. The reshaping lasts for up to 24 hours, which means you don’t need to wear corrective lenses during the day. Ortho-K is best for people with mild to moderate myopia and astigmatism. The only downside to this treatment is that it can take several weeks to see significant improvement, and you need to wear your contact lenses nightly to maintain the results.

Closing Thoughts

If you have myopia, don’t fret. There is a range of treatments available, and your optometrist or ophthalmologist can help you decide which one is right for you. Corrective lenses, refractive surgery, or ortho-K can all provide long-lasting correction for nearsightedness and improve your quality of life.

Preventing Myopia

Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is an eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a refractive error that prevents the eye from focusing accurately on distant objects. The prevalence of myopia has steadily increased in recent years, especially in developed countries where the use of electronic devices and increased educational demands have become more common. However, there are preventive measures that you can take to reduce your risk of developing myopia.

Frequent Breaks from Reading or Screen Time

Continuously focusing on nearby objects, such as reading or staring at a screen, can cause strain on the eyes and contribute to the development of myopia. Taking frequent breaks and looking away from the screen or book can help to reduce eye strain and prevent myopia from forming. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following the “20-20-20” rule to give your eyes a break: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away.

Practicing Good Eye Hygiene

Good eye hygiene involves taking care of your eyes and keeping them healthy. It includes washing your hands before touching your eyes, avoiding touching or rubbing your eyes excessively, and cleaning your contact lenses as directed. These simple actions can help prevent eye infections and reduce the risk of developing myopia.

Getting Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are essential in identifying eye conditions, such as myopia, and in maintaining good eye health. Eye exams can detect myopia at an early stage and prevent further progression. It is recommended that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age, followed by another at age 3, and then before starting school. After that, individuals should have regular eye exams as recommended by their eye doctor, depending on their age and overall eye health.


Preventing myopia requires diligence and awareness about your eye health. Taking frequent breaks, practicing good eye hygiene, and getting regular eye exams are all simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of developing myopia. By following these preventive measures, you can maintain good eye health and prevent myopia from affecting your vision.

Originally posted 2023-05-31 07:40:07.

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