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Nearsightedness (Myopia), Explained

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition where objects nearby are seen more clearly than objects that are far away. This occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina rather than directly on it. Myopia typically develops during childhood and can worsen over time if not treated. While myopia does not typically cause any pain or discomfort, it can lead to serious vision problems if left untreated.

In this blog post, we will discuss what causes myopia, how it is diagnosed and treated, and some of the potential complications associated with this condition.

Nearsightedness: The Basics

Myopia typically develops in childhood and progresses slowly over time. It is often genetic, meaning it runs in families. Children with myopia are more likely to need glasses or contact lenses than those without the condition.

Nearsightedness Symptoms

The most common symptom of myopia is difficulty seeing objects that are far away. This can make it difficult to read street signs, drive, or see the blackboard at school. Other symptoms may include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Fatigue

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

Types of Myopia

There are three types of nearsightedness:

  • Simple
  • Degenerative
  • Pathological

Simple Myopia

This is the most common type and occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is too curved. This type typically develops slowly and can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Degenerative Myopia

This type is also known as malignant myopia. It occurs when the eyeball continues to grow too long, even into adulthood. This can lead to a serious deterioration of vision and other complications. Degenerative myopia is the most severe form of nearsightedness and requires regular monitoring by an eye doctor.

Pathological Myopia

This rare type of myopia is caused by a disorder or injury to the eye. It can lead to a rapid deterioration of vision and other serious complications. If you have this type of myopia, it is important to see an eye doctor regularly.

Diagnosing Nearsightedness

Myopia is typically diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor will test your vision and measure the curvature of your cornea. They may also use a machine to take pictures of the back of your eye. If you have myopia, your eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription will be negative.

Treating Nearsightedness

Myopia can be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. Eyeglasses or contact lenses correct myopia by bending the light that enters your eye so that it focuses properly on the retina. Refractive surgery changes the shape of your cornea so that light is properly focused on the retina.

Potential Complications of Nearsightedness

Myopia can lead to a number of serious complications, including:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Retinal detachment
  • Macular degeneration

While myopia is a common condition, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated. If you think you may have myopia, be sure to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Treatment options are available to help you see clearly and reduce your risk of complications.


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