What is Myopia?
“I can see up close without my glasses but I need them to see far away. Does this mean I am nearsighted or farsighted?”
We hear this all the time and know it can be confusing! Being nearsighted means you have a hard time seeing far away without correction. Being farsighted means you have a hard time seeing up close without correction. Having astigmatism is another type of correction, and that can make things blurry at every range, but that’s a story for a different day. Today, we’re going to focus on being nearsighted.
Having a nearsighted prescription is called “myopia” (pronounced mai-ow-pee-uh). Myopia is a vision disorder (not a disease) that is caused by the eye growing to a longer length than average. The longer the eye, the higher the nearsighted prescription!
Most people only know that someone who is nearsighted needs glasses or contacts to see clearly far away. But did you know that being nearsighted can increase the risk of several ocular diseases later in life? These patients are more at risk for developing cataracts, glaucoma, and even retinal detachments!
This is why comprehensive eye examinations are so important, especially for children! Myopia progresses over time, so if a child has a nearsighted prescription at a young age, they are destined to be a high myope by adolescence.
Wearing updated glasses or contact lenses is imperative to making sure children can perform to the best of their ability in school and other activities. Beyond that, it is also essential that we try to slow the progression of myopia to help prevent ocular disease development later in life.
At Mitchell Family Eye Care, we are proud to be one of the few practices in Louisiana offering myopia management services. We will dive into these treatment options in a future blog post, but if you notice your child squinting to see far away, sitting too close to the TV or holding items very close to see them, be sure to contact us to schedule an eye exam today!