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Eye Health Library / Eye Exam & Diagnoses
Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a visual condition in which near objects may be seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus.
When your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, it causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina rather than directly on its surface. Myopia may be hereditary or it may occur spontaneously.
Myopia is a very common visual condition that affects nearly thirty per cent of the Canadian population. It normally starts during childhood and continues to increase until the individual reaches their 20s.
You may need glasses for distance only or full time as the prescription increases to enable you to see more clearly. If your condition warrants, your doctor of optometry will prescribe corrective lenses for you. You may only need them for certain activities, like watching television, going to a movie or driving a car, while others will need them full time.
Eyeglasses or contact lenses optically correct the problem by altering the way the image enters your eyes, but they do not cure myopia. At present there are no proven cures for nearsightedness. Surgical procedures such as LASIK, PRK or SBK, and/or lens implants may eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses.
People with myopia will often have trouble seeing the whiteboard, the movie screen, the television set or other distant objects. When your doctor of optometry gives you a comprehensive eye examination, he or she will include tests to determine if there is a prescription need for myopia.
If glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, it may take up to two weeks to adjust to seeing clearly with them. Some people with myopia may find that they are restricted from some occupations (for example, police officers or fire fighters), due to their inability to see properly if their glasses fall off. In these cases, laser surgery may be useful. Contact lenses are very helpful for correcting nearsightedness and are ideal for people with more active lifestyles.