Short-sightedness or ‘Myopia’ as it’s technically known affects approximately 30% of the population. It occurs when either the eyeball is too long or when the cornea (clear membrane at front) is too steeply curved, giving rise to a focusing of light which doesn’t rest exactly on the back of the eye (the retina), but somewhat in front. This simply gives the observer a blurred image (of varying degree) of objects in the distance, depending on the extent of the defect.

The development of Myopia can start from very young, up to the age of approximately 20 years, but predominantly starts in the teens. The earlier the onset, the more severe it generally is, but thankfully ceases progression around 28-32 years.

Although some evidence points to prolonged close work and computer use, there is a strong link to family history, with children having approximately

a 35% chance if one of the parents has it, rising to almost 55% if both have it.

Myopia is easily treated by your Optometrist with spectacles, using very thin ‘high index’ lenses if necessary or by contact lenses. Corrective laser surgery is now also a very popular option, whereby the cornea is reshaped, correcting the defect.

Being easily identified and treated, Myopia has never proved an obstacle in anyone’s development in life, in fact can prove a benefit in up close and detailed work.

Noel McCrystal

BSc.(Hons.)MCOptom.Dip.Sc.V MASv.P

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