Nearsightedness

Alternative Names

Myopia; Shortsightedness; Refractive error – nearsightedness

Definition of Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is when light entering the eye is focused incorrectly, making distant objects appear blurred. Nearsightedness is a type of refractive error of the eye.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

People are able to see because the front part of the eye bends (refracts) light and points it to the back surface of the eye, called the retina.

Symptoms

A nearsighted person sees close up objects clearly, but objects in the distance are blurred. Squinting will tend to make far away objects seem clearer.

Signs and tests

A nearsighted person can easily read the Jaeger eye chart (the chart for near reading), but has trouble reading the Snellen eye chart (the chart for distance).

Treatment

Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can help shift the focus of the light image directly onto the retina, producing a clearer image.

Expectations (prognosis)

Early diagnosis of nearsightedness is important, because a child can suffer socially and educationally by not being able to see well at a distance.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/28/2010

Visual acuity test
Normal, nearsightedness, and farsightedness
Lasik eye surgery - series

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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