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What is bilateral myopia?

clear view of cactus plants seen through a pair of glasses

Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision impairment that causes a person to have difficulty focusing on objects and signs that are far away. The condition is common among children and adults and can occur in one or both eyes. When it occurs in both eyes, it is called bilateral myopia.

Although bilateral myopia affects both eyes, the degree of vision prescriptions may vary between each eye.

What causes bilateral myopia?

Bilateral myopia occurs when each eyeball is longer than normal, or when the cornea and/or lens is curved too much to align with the length of each eyeball. A combination of these factors can also be responsible for bilateral myopia.

Bilateral myopia is typically detected in childhood and it is more likely to occur if there is a family history of the condition.

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Symptoms of bilateral myopia

Bilateral myopia affects visual acuity in both eyes, meaning symptoms are usually experienced in both eyes at the same time. Some common symptoms of bilateral myopia include:

Vision changes with age, so these symptoms can reoccur over time, which is often an indicator that your vision prescription needs to be updated. In some cases, vision may become weaker in one eye over time while the other eye remains the same.

How is bilateral myopia diagnosed?

An eye doctor diagnoses bilateral myopia through a comprehensive eye exam. This routine exam includes an evaluation of overall eye health as well as assessing any refractive errors. 

How is bilateral myopia treated?

Bilateral myopia can be treated with corrective lenses such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery (such as PRK or LASIK eye surgery) can also be used to treat bilateral myopia, but is typically recommended for adults who have had a stable prescription for several years.

Other types of myopia

Bilateral myopia is a common condition in the realm of nearsightedness. However, a number of variations of myopia can also occur, including:

READ NEXT: Is nearsightedness reversible?

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