• With myopia, nearsightedness, a person sees things more clearly close up and blurred at a distance.
  • The eye is longer or more curved than normal, which causes light to focus in front of the back of the eye (retina).
  • This genetic tendency usually develops during childhood, but it can evolve in the 20s.
  • The degree of nearsightedness usually progresses for several years; eventually it levels out.
  • Myopia is NOT considered an eye disease, rather it is a normal variation in the shape of your eye. A myopic eye is a healthy eye which focuses light slightly off target.
  • Nearsightedness is corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Picture of a myopic eye
(focus forms before the back of eye)
  Picture of a normal eye
(focus falls on the back of eye)
Real photo of a very nearsighted eye. Notice the odd shaped(stretched) white area around the optic nerve   Real photo of retina of normal eye
How a person who was nearsighted (20/150* vision) would see. This person would not be able to pass the driver's vision test. Nearsightedness can be corrected with lenses (see below).


  • Objects beyond the distance of 20 are seen with difficulty.
  • It is harder to see at night.
  • A nearsighted person squints to improve vision, has headaches, and sees starbursts or glare while night driving.
  • Reading is usually not affected.


* 20/150 means what a person with normal vision can see at 150 feet that person with poor vision needs to be at 20 feet before he/she can see that same object.

How is myopia diagnosed?

Diagnosing nearsightedness through an eye exam

Myopia is often suspected when a child performs poorly during a routine eye screening at school. A referral for a comprehensive eye health examination will reveal the degree of nearsightedness. Yearly examinations after myopia has been discovered are advised to determine whether the condition is progressing and if a change (stronger) in prescriptive lenses are needed. Those with extreme nearsightedness are at higher risk of a retinal tear or detachment. Therefore, periodic dilated exams are recommended to ensure that the retina is healthy throughout the entire eye.

How is myopia treated?

    As with other refractive errors, corrective lenses are prescribed to help focus light more effectively on the retina. Depending on the degree of myopia, glasses
    may be needed all of the time for clear vision. If the degree of impairment is slight, glasses may be needed only for activities that require distant vision, such as driving or watching TV.
This is how a nearsighted person would see with and without their glasses
  • SOFT DISPOSABLE LENSES: are very supple and very soft. They are disposed of at regular intervals, from every 2 weeks to once a month. They are frequently prescribed and are good for people who play sports. Click here for more information.
  • RGP: Rigid Gas Permeable.  These lenses are more rigid, and if fit correctly, can somewhat help to minimize the progression of myopia. These can pop out of the eye easier, thus not the first lens of choice for an active individual. These last for several years.
  • Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses: are more rigid. If fit correctly, they can help to minimize the progression of myopia. These can pop out of the eye more easily; thus, they are not the first lens of choice for an active individual. These lenses last for several years. Click here for more information.
  • REFRACTIVE SURGERY (LASIK): Click here for information.

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