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Myopia: Frequently Asked Questions

Myopia definition

Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition that causes blurred distance vision. People with nearsightedness need prescription glasses or contact lenses to see things across a room and to drive safely. They usually don’t need them for close-up tasks like reading or using a computer.

Myopia occurs when differences in the eye's structure cause light rays to focus in front of the retina, rather than directly on it. This is what causes blurry distance vision. Most often, myopia is due to the eyes growing too long from front to back (the axial length of the eye). It can also occur if the cornea or lens of the eye are too curved.

Why is myopia a big concern?

Recently, more kids than ever before are becoming nearsighted. If this rate continues, half of the world's population will be nearsighted by the year 2050.

More importantly, nearsightedness can worsen year after year. This can result in high myopia (or severe myopia), which can lead to sight-threatening complications. High myopia has been linked to: 

Find out more about myopia — and what can be done about it — by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions (FAQs) about nearsightedness.

Myopia FAQs

What is myopia?

  1. What is myopia?

  2. What age does myopia typically start?

  3. Is nearsightedness common?

  4. What do nearsighted and shortsighted mean?

  5. What's another name for nearsightedness?

  6. What causes nearsightedness?

  7. Is being nearsighted genetic?

  8. Is nearsightedness due to the eyeball being too long?

  9. Is myopia a disease?

  10. Is myopia a disability?

  11. What is night myopia?

  12. What is bilateral myopia?

  13. What's the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness?

  14. Are nearsightedness and lazy eye the same thing?

  15. Can you be nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other?

  16. Can kids with myopia still play sports?

  17. Are people who wear glasses smarter than people who don’t?

  18. Can I be an astronaut if I have myopia?

  19. Can a preterm birth cause myopia?

  20. Can astigmatism cause myopia?

  21. Does eye strain cause myopia?

  22. Can too much reading cause myopia in children?

  23. Is looking at faraway objects bad for myopic eyes?

  24. Can nearsightedness be a good thing?

Myopia symptoms

  1. What are myopia symptoms?

  2. Can being nearsighted cause headaches?

  3. Is it normal for young people with myopia to have floaters?

  4. Why would someone’s vision only get blurry at night?

  5. Does myopia make you see the world upside down?

  6. Does poor vision change the appearance of your eyes?

Myopia diagnosis

  1. What happens at a kid’s eye exam?

  2. What does “Which is better, one or two?” mean in an eye exam?

  3. What happens if you can't see the biggest letter in a vision test?

  4. Can you cheat on an eye exam?

  5. Can I get myopia eye care for my child without vision insurance?

Myopia control

  1. What is myopia control?

  2. What is progressive myopia?

  3. What causes progressive myopia?

  4. What is high myopia?

  5. What is pathologic myopia?

  6. Can myopia lead to blindness?

  7. Can eye drops improve vision in myopia?

  8. What age does myopia progression stop?

  9. Can reduced screen time cure myopia?

  10. How much screen time is too much?

  11. Does vision get worse if you don’t wear your glasses?

  12. Will the next generation inherit myopia?

  13. Can you prevent myopia?

Myopia correction

  1. Can myopia be cured?

  2. Is nearsightedness reversible?

  3. What methods can be used to correct myopia?

  4. What type of lens is used to correct nearsightedness?

  5. Can staring at the distance cure myopia?

  6. How does a concave lens correct myopia?

  7. What should I do if my child says their new glasses make their vision blurry?

  8. Can reading glasses ever help see distance?

  9. Can I improve myopia by eating carrots?

  10. Can you make your vision worse with scratched lenses?

  11. What should I do if my teen hates glasses and is afraid of contacts?

  12. What should I do if my child plays sports but is too young for contacts?

What to do

To make sure your children's vision is developing properly, it is important to schedule pediatric eye exams. The first exams should be done at 6 months of age, again at age 3 and again when they start school.

Then, doctors recommend yearly eye exams throughout the school years. This is especially important for kids who have a family history of myopia or are showing signs and symptoms of nearsightedness, such as:

  • Difficulty seeing the board in class

  • Squinting to see clearly

  • Complaining of headaches later in the day

  • Eye strain

  • Difficulty reading subtitles on a television

Don't take chances. If it's been a year or longer since your child's last eye exam, schedule one today with an eye doctor near you.

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