Author: Jiayi Chen
Editors: Ken Saito and Michael Zhu
Artists: Doris Tan
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a visual problem where people can see objects clearly at a close distance but have trouble seeing objects further away. Myopia affects a large percentage of the U.S. population and it becomes increasingly common as most teenagers in the modern century use electronics. Moreover, myopia is known to be inheritable from previous generations in a bloodline. The intensity of visual fatigue also plays an essential role.
There are many causes for myopia, but the most important one is the structure of the eye. Human eyes have a protective layer called the cornea which usually focuses light directly onto the retina of the eye when it's smooth. Nearsightedness occurs when the cornea becomes curved, causing the eye to lose its focus. When the cornea is curved, light reflecting off of an object will be focused on the front of the retina, resulting in a blurry image. This is often referred to as refractive error.
Myopia is known to be heritable by family members, so it's very likely for children to suffer from myopia if their biological parents are nearsighted. Acquired factors also play as much of a role in myopia as inherent factors. People who do not spend enough time outdoors and focus on short-distance visual images are more likely to develop myopia.
The symptoms of myopia are different as the degree of misshaping the cornea experiences is different in each case. Severe cases of Myopia can make day-to-day life quite inconvenient. For example, some people experience painful eye strain when trying to focus on objects. Driving also becomes a problem, as it may lead to devastating accidents. Myopia is also known to facilitate the development of other eye diseases.
There are many treatments to help reduce the effects of myopia: eyeglasses, contact lenses, laser procedures, refractive surgery, and vision therapy. People can freely choose any of these treatments, but advice from eye doctors should be prioritized. Children can also prevent myopia with treatments such as contact lenses and eye drops. Especially for younger children, since their bodies are still developing, myopia is more easily treated. However, people can still develop myopia into adulthood, so people should visit an eye doctor twice a year.
“Myopia (Nearsightedness) - Causes, Treatment and Symptoms.” WebMD, WebMD,
“Myopia.” AOA.org, www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/myopia?sso=y.
“Nearsightedness.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2