How myopia impacts your eyesight

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is one of the most common vision issues in the world. You may have myopia if you struggle to see objects at a distance clearly but can see close-up objects just fine. Myopia usually occurs in children and stabilises in early adulthood, but in some cases, it can turn into a more severe condition including high myopia, degenerative myopia or progressive myopia.

If you experience headaches, eyestrain or find yourself squinting into the distance, you likely have myopia. Your optician can quickly identify it in a standard eye exam, and it can be corrected by wearing glasses for myopia.

Myopia differs from hypermetropia, which is a condition that makes it more difficult to see close-up objects while objects in the distance remain clear. It is not uncommon for people with myopia to also have astigmatism, another eye condition that affects the clarity of vision.

Questions about myopia

For some people, a change in their eyesight can be concerning. Here are just some of the answers you might be looking for if you think you have myopia.

Can screens and computers cause myopia?

It is a common belief that screen work can cause vision issues. This is partially right.

When speaking about myopia, screens are not to fully blame, but rather seen as another type of very close focus activity.

Some studies suggest that spending too much time doing near work activity is a risk factor for myopia.  Research has also found that spending time outdoors can reduce risks.

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Can laser surgery cure myopia?

Yes. Myopia is often caused by an eye that is somewhat longer than normal or the eye's lens is misshapen and laser surgery can correct myopia by reshaping the cornea, the clear window in front of your iris.

Laser surgery should be done only once the eye has stopped growing and stabilised (usually around 25). You should be fully aware that having laser surgery won’t prevent presbyopia from developing, an eye condition that develops in later life – so you will still need glasses at a certain point.

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Can myopia be cured?

The progression of myopia can slow down and finally stabilise, but it is not reversible, so you currently cannot cure myopia.

Yet, it is very easy to compensate for the effects of myopia by wearing glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription.

Laser surgery can also be an effective way to correct myopia and there are also ways to control the progression of myopia through specific treatments and lenses. Speak to your optician about the best choices for your lifestyle and your requirements.

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Can myopia cause blindness?

Myopia is often caused by the eyeball being longer than normal resulting in blurred vision without some form of vision correction, however, there can be some risks associated with higher levels of myopia.

It is important that you have your eyes checked regularly or if you have any symptoms such as flashing lights or ‘floaters’ that appear suddenly or unexpectedly.  

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What is high myopia and is it dangerous?

High myopia is used to describe myopia that is measured on your glasses prescription as above -6.00 dioptres (D).

In most cases, it is just a way of saying that the refractive error is at the higher end and implies that people with high myopia will have low visual acuity without glasses or contact lenses.

High myopia is also easy to correct, but in extreme cases, it can have other impacts on eye health so it is important that people with high myopia have their eyes checked regularly.

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What are the different levels of myopia?

When you have an eye test your optician will produce your glasses prescription. On your glasses prescription, you will find the power of the lens required to correct your eyesight. This power is measured in dioptres (D).

Opticians consider myopia as light if it is between -0.25D and -3.00D, medium between -3.00D and -6.00D and high anything above -6.00D. In any case, myopia is easy to correct thanks to prescription glasses or contact lenses.

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Does wearing glasses accelerate myopia?

No, wearing glasses won’t accelerate myopia.

An up-to-date optical prescription and the right glasses will give you back the sharp vision you had at far distances before you developed myopia.

In fact, myopia tends to develop when the eye is growing, independently of whether or not you wear glasses. 

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When will my myopia stabilise?

It depends on the individual and in fact, some people do not develop myopia until they start to do close distance work, for example, university students who spend much time reading and writing assignments on computers at close distances.

In most cases, myopia will stabilise when the eye stops growing, usually around 25 years of age.

With routine eye tests, your optician will be able to monitor the progression of myopia and take the right steps to manage it.

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Is it possible to slow down myopia progression?

Much research is being undertaken to make this possible and some solutions already exist. However, what is known is that children, in particular, should be given the opportunity to relax their eyes after periods of concentrated near-work by routinely taking breaks every hour and taking part in outdoor activities on a regular basis. 

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What is the main cause of myopia?

Myopia occurs due to two main reasons; either the length of the eye is a bit longer than normal. To see clearly light needs to land at the back of your eye on the retina, if your eye is longer the light from a distant object focuses in front of the retina.

The other cause can be due to the curvature of the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) being a bit more curved than ‘normal’ and so light is bent (refracted) a little too much, again bringing it to focus in front of your retina.

In both cases, the image does not come to a sharp focus on the retina resulting in the object of interest appearing blurry.

In either case, your optician will determine your glasses prescription and will advise you on the best ways to correct your vision and to restore sharp vision at far distances.

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Eye conditions & symptoms

Can You Cure Myopia?

Finding out you have myopia can be a little disappointing. Luckily, there are lots of different ways to help correct and manage short-sightedness.

Eye conditions & symptoms

What are the Causes of Myopia?

Struggling to see distant objects is a common problem with those under 40; in fact, around 1 in 4 people across Europe have myopia, but what causes short-sightedness?