Blog Hero

What Does it Mean if You’re Nearsighted?

Book Your Appointment

Nearsightedness, or “myopia,” affects nearly 40% of the US population. It is one of the most common eye conditions in the world. Like other refractive errors, myopia causes objects at a certain distance to become blurry. Controlling the effects of myopia is crucial in ensuring that your vision remains clear. If you are experiencing myopia, your vision problem can be treated by getting eyeglasses, contact lenses, or even laser eye surgery.

What is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?

Myopia is a common vision problem that allows you to see things close to you clearly, but objects far away will be blurry. Myopia occurs due to the shape of your eye incorrectly refracting light so it focuses before it reaches your retina instead of focusing at the retina.

Myopia can develop rapidly or quite slowly, and it is often hereditary. The best way to confirm if you are experiencing myopia is to receive a comprehensive eye examination

Many children can develop myopia early on in their life, severely affecting their quality of life and ability to learn. Myopia can put your child at risk of developing eye diseases like retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, so it is important to consider getting your child examined for refractive errors. 


If you think that your child has myopia, some signs that they will need treatment are:


Myopia is a refractive error, meaning that light does not refract properly through your cornea or lens which causes the light to focus at a different point other than on the retina. If your cornea or lens isn’t evenly and smoothly curved, you will experience a refractive error. Nearsightedness usually occurs when your eyeball is longer than normal or your cornea is curved too steeply.


Complications due to myopia can range from subtle to severe. Some of the issues you may run into as a result of myopia are:

  • Reduced quality of life – you may find it more difficult to perform everyday tasks when afflicted with myopia
  • Eyestrain – myopia can cause discomfort due to squinting and overworking your eyes
  • Impaired safety – things like driving and operating machinery become hazardous if your myopia is not being treated properly
  • Financial burden – correcting myopia involves buying corrective lenses or undergoing expensive surgery
  • Other eye problems – if you have myopia it puts you at an increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic degeneration
Young woman undergoing eye exam by her optometrist.

How Myopia is Diagnosed

Myopia is usually diagnosed through a refraction assessment during a comprehensive eye exam. A refraction assessment will determine if you have vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. An optometrist will use various instruments and ask you to look through several lenses to test your distance and close-up vision during a refraction assessment. 

Myopia Treatment

Myopia treatment is the act of treating nearsightedness through corrective measures like glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. 

Prescription Lenses

You can treat myopia through the use of corrective lenses. Corrective lenses counteract the increased curvature of your cornea or the increased length of your eye. Prescription lenses include:

  • Eyeglasses – Wearing eyeglasses is the simplest way to treat myopia, and many different frames and specialty lenses are available to suit your specific needs. 
  • Contact lenses – Similar to glasses, contact lenses can treat refractive issues. Instead of wearing them on your face, they rest directly on your eye.

Refractive Surgery

Refractive surgery will reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Your eye surgeon will use a laser to reshape the cornea, which results in a decreased nearsighted prescription. Surgeries that can treat myopia include:

Contact your optometrist today today to learn more about nearsightedness and how you can control myopia progression. 

Written by Dr. Sara Johnson

Dr. Sara Whitney graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Rockford College in Rockford, IL and received her Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. As an optometry student, Dr. Whitney completed a primary care externship in Wilmington, NC, and a hospital-based rotation at the Naval Health Clinic of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, TX. Dr. Whitney has cared for patients as an optometrist in the Colorado Springs area since May of 2009. She has experience in family eye care, including pediatric eye examination, adult eye care, treatment and management of ocular disease, contact lens fitting, and eye surgery co-management. Colorado State licensed and certified in ocular pharmaceutical agents, Dr. Whitney’s training and experience allow her to diagnose, treat, and manage or co-manage all eye conditions. Professional memberships include the American Optometric Association, Colorado Optometric Association, and Southern Colorado Optometric Society.
chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax