Myopia

hand holding glasses to eye chart

Myopia, or nearsightedness, means that your eyes can see close objects clearly but struggle to see things in the distance. Nearly 30 percent of Americans are nearsighted.

This condition usually develops in children and teenagers, up to about the age of 20. A teacher or parent might notice a child squinting at the chalkboard or TV. Other common symptoms include headaches, frequent blinking and rubbing of the eyes and failing to notice distant objects.

Causes

If the curvature of your cornea — the clear part on the front of your eye — is too steep, you will be nearsighted. Myopia can also be caused by an eyeball that is too long, relative to the lens’ and cornea’s focusing power. Light entering your eye will not be correctly focused, causing things in the distance to look blurry.

However, what causes these defects is still under debate. Heredity and visual stress are leading contenders. If both parents are nearsighted, the child is at higher risk. Examples of visual stress include excessive reading, computer use or other tasks that demand the eyes to focus on close objects. Note: Myopia due to close work is sometimes temporary.

Eye problems can also be symptoms of other disorders, such as diabetes or a cataract developing in the eye.

Testing and Diagnosis

Eye doctors test patients’ vision by having them read letters on a Snellen chart that is placed about 20 feet away from the patient. Your doctor may also use lighted instruments to determine the focusing power of your eyes. Sometimes, eye doctors use eye drops to dilate the eyes. This temporarily prevents the eyes from changing focus, so he or she can examine them more easily.

Once your eye doctor finishes the test, he or she can determine whether you have myopia. If you suffer from myopia, you and your eye doctor will discuss possible treatment options.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Eyeglasses are the most commonly prescribed and least invasive method of treating myopia. Depending on how nearsighted you are, you might need to wear glasses some or all of the time. If you also have trouble seeing things close-up, your eye doctor might prescribe bifocals. These let you see both far and close objects more clearly, and are popular with patients over the age of 40.

Contact lenses can provide a wider field of vision and may let you see more clearly. However, because they are worn directly on the eye, they need extra care and cleaning. Contact lenses are not recommended for those who are squeamish about touching their eyes.

Orthokeratology, also called corneal refractive therapy, involves wearing rigid contact lenses that reshape your cornea’s curvature. This therapy changes how light enters your eyes, eventually making your eyes focus correctly. The results from orthokeratology are temporary, and patients must continue to use these specialized contact lenses to maintain results.

Surgical Treatment Options

Laser procedures such as photorefractive keratectomy and LASIK have become more prevalent over the last few decades. With laser vision correction surgery, the ophthalmologist uses laser energy to remove a small amount of corneal tissue, thus reshaping the curvature of the cornea and correcting the refractive error that is causing myopia.

Highly nearsighted people may be better suited for another type of refractive surgery, including refractive lens exchange (RLE). The ophthalmologist implants a corrective lens directly into the eye. This lens is placed either right in front of the eye’s natural lens or it replaces the natural lens entirely.

Many treatments are available to myopic patients. Call our practice today, so we can help you decide which one is best for your visual needs and lifestyle practices.

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Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Michael Houseman took great care of my 92-year-old father, who can't hear very well at all, and who gets confused easily. He was very patient and kind, and spent extra time giving him the best prescription possible. When we went to get glasses, they were able to cut the lenses in house, very affordably."
    Mark Berg
  • "Great service! Dr Gertsberger is wonderful. He takes care of my whole family and we have all been pleased with our eye care."
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  • "What fan can I say? If you need prompt, professional eye care, Garden City Optometrists is where you need to go for the best eye care in Southwest Kansas...they'll keep an eye out for you. (:-) Art Gomez, Scott City, Kansas"
    Art Gomez
  • "This place has been in operation for more than 100 years, so they must be doing something right. That "something" is prompt, professional service. I've never had to wait long for an appointment or to be seen once I arrive at the office. The staff knows what they're doing, and I've never walked away unhappy."
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  • "I was shopping for my third set of glasses from Garden City Optometrists. The entire staff got in on the experience, showing me frames that they thought would work well for me. We didn't find exactly what I was looking for, so they ordered some more examples. I've had nothing but great experiences with all of the doctors and staff here. See you guys in a few days for my new frames!"
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