Myopia (shortsightedness)

Myopia, or shortsightedness as it is commonly known, is an eye condition where you do not see distant objects clearly. Myopia is a very common eye condition that usually begins in school-age children and can continue to progress until the eye stops growing. Adults can also develop myopia.

Commonly asked questions

What causes myopia?

If the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, is too curved, or your eye is too long, the light that enters the eye will not focus correctly on the retina at the back of the eye. How does this occur? Research has shown that the development of myopia is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, but an increase in myopia in recent years indicates that environmental factors are probably more prevalent. New research has shown that adequate daily exposure to sunlight can curb the onset of myopia.

Can myopia be cured?

Despite ongoing research, a cure for myopia has not yet been found. Properly prescribed glasses or contact lenses will help you to see clearly but will not cure your shortsightedness. Laser surgery to reshape your cornea and refocus light can correct myopia in some people and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

How can I tell if I’m shortsighted and how will it affect me?

Shortsighted people will have trouble seeing distant objects clearly, but will be able to see well for close up tasks such as reading or computer use. Some people don’t realise they can’t see clearly, but an eye examination with your optometrist will test for myopia.

Your optometrist will tell you if you need to wear glasses all the time or some of the time, depending on the severity of myopia and according to your lifestyle. In some instances, you may only need them for some activities such as driving, going to the movies or in the classroom.

How can I tell if my child is shortsighted?

A comprehensive eye examination is the only sure way of determining whether your child’s vision is normal. Some clues to myopia in a child are:

  • Screwing up their eyes to see distant objects
  • Difficulty reading the blackboard at school or TV at home
  • Poor posture while reading
  • Lack of interest in playing outdoor games