Myopia: Frequently Asked Questions
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.
What is myopia?
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
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.
IMI – Defining and classifying myopia: A proposed set of standards for clinical and epidemiologic studies. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. February 2019.
Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. February 2016.
Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination. American Optometric Association. February 2017.
Page published on Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Page updated on Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Medically reviewed on Saturday, March 12, 2022