Myopia, which is also known as nearsightedness, is a common vision related disorder in which a person can clearly see the objects nearby, but the farther ones seem blurry to him/her. This condition occurs because of the incorrect refraction of the incoming light rays by the eyes, which in turn focuses images at the front of the retina instead of doing it on the retina. Myopia can affect people of all ages; however, its impact on children and young adults is deemed to be the most severe.

Symptoms of Myopia

The most common symptoms of myopia include blurry vision when looking at the objects placed far away, the need to partly close the eyelids to see the objects clearly, strain in vision and resulting headaches, difficulty to see while driving in low-light conditions, etc. The condition is usually diagnosed in children during their teenage years and can be corrected using contact lenses and eyeglasses, or with the help of refractive surgery.

A child with myopia may squint persistently and blink excessively as well. He/she would move closer to the TV screen to watch the programs, prefer to sit at the front in the classroom, or fail to notice the distant objects at all. If your child rubs his/her eyes frequently and often complains about difficulty in seeing far-off things clearly, you need to consult a specialist at the nearest community health care center right away. After the extent of the disorder is determined, the doctor would suggest the right options to correct the ailment.

Some patients also experience flashes of light in either or both the eyes, black or grey specks drifting across the eyes, and a shadowy field blocking normal sight. These symptoms can indicate the onset of retinal detachment, which is a severe complication of myopia. Such symptoms calls for emergency medical care; the sooner the disorder is diagnosed, the better the treatment options would work.

Causes of Myopia

There are two parts in the front portion of our eyes, which process the images for us to see – the cornea and the lens. Both of these parts have a smooth curvature to refract all the incoming light and make a sharp and focused image on the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. If either the cornea or the lens were not smoothly curved, it would not refract the light properly, thereby leading to vision related disorders like myopia, hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism. Myopia, once identified by a pediatric doctor or optometrist, is easily treated through the use of bifocals or contact lenses.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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