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Myopia causes your vision to be blurry in the distance but clearer when looking at things up close. Often known as "being short sighted", it’s a very common condition and for most people it can easily be dealt with using contact lenses or glasses, which will make your vision clear and crisp. It's thought to affect up to one in three people in the UK and is becoming more common. Myopia can range from mild, where treatment may not be required, to severe, where a person's vision is significantly affected.
The condition usually starts around puberty and gets gradually worse until the eye is fully grown, but it can also develop in very young children.
Signs that you may have myopia can include:
difficulty seeing things at a distance
sitting close to the TV
headaches or tired eyes
regularly rubbing your eyes
For vision to be clear, light entering your eye needs to be focused accurately on your retina. Light entering your eye is first focused by the cornea and then fine focused by the lens. This focusing system of your eye makes sure that when light enters your eye it is sharply in focus as it hits the retina. This means that we see everything in focus without any blurriness.
There are three types of eye conditions where the eye is unable to correctly focus light onto the retina. These are called refractive errors and can cause your vision to be blurred.
Myopia (short sightedness)
Hypermetropia (long sightedness)
Astigmatism, where the shape of your eye is more like a rugby ball than a spherical football
Myopia can also develop because of other conditions you may have. If you have diabetes you may experience temporary myopia when your blood sugar level is not well controlled. Glasses alone may not be the best way to correct the change in your vision. Good control of your blood sugar levels will help stabilise your vision and your diabetic nurse and GP would be able to help you to achieve this.
Some types of cataracts can also cause myopia to develop. The myopic changes caused by early cataracts can be corrected by glasses. When cataracts continue to develop this may not be possible and surgery to remove the cataracts would improve your vision.
Prevention & Treatment
Most people who have myopia don’t have any complications and will only ever need glasses or contact lenses to make their vision sharper. If your prescription is over -10.00D, you are entitled to a NHS complex lens voucher to use towards the cost of your glasses or
Your optician would be able to tell you how much this voucher is worth. The higher your level of myopia is, the higher the risk of developing eye conditions and the changes associated with myopia. If your retina has been damaged then your vision may need more than glasses to help you see well.
What do I do now?
Regular eye tests are crucial to early detection of eye conditions and in most cases, early detection can significantly reduce the effects of that condition.
Eye tests, carried out by an optometrist (optician) should be done every two years. If you are struggling with the symptoms of Myopia, there are many ways in which Galloway’s can help you and your loved ones adjust to your sight loss and can offer simple practical help with living with the diagnosis and coping with everyday life.