Eye conditions & symptoms 4 min read

How to Recognise the Symptoms of Myopia

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If you have myopia, you may find yourself squinting into the distance to see something more clearly. Likewise, you may not be able to read road signs as easily as you used to, but you can still see close-up objects.

What are the symptoms of myopia?

Struggling to see things clearly in the distance, whether at home, work, school, or driving could be a sign of short-sightedness. The symptoms of myopia are also usually relatively easy to recognise in others. Maybe you've noticed a family member complaining of their sight, experiencing headaches or squinting when looking in the distance?

Myopia often begins in childhood and younger children may not be able to articulate their experience to their parents or teacher, so knowing the signs and symptoms is a great way to support your family and friends.

If you, or someone you know, appears to be struggling with seeing distant objects clearly, it is vital to attend a routine eye test with an optician. You may not even realise the extent of your short-sightedness, but your optician will be able to pick up any changes in your vision through a routine eye exam. The good thing is that treating myopia symptoms can be very straightforward.

What is myopia?

To begin with, let's understand what myopia is. Also known as short-sightedness, myopia is a common eye condition that occurs when you have a misshapen eyeball, cornea or lens of the eye. It's prevalent and affects around 1 in 4 people in Europe. It usually develops in school-age children and teenagers, and can sometimes continue to progress during early adulthood. It is generally characterised by having good vision at near distances, such as reading or using your computer, but blurred vision for further afield, watching TV or looking at the whiteboard. 

In some cases, you may develop severe myopia known as high myopia. There are also cases of degenerative myopia, whereby the vision change happens rapidly and can damage the back of your eye. If you notice your vision getting worse and worse each year, it's essential to see an optometrist. 

If you think you might have myopia, you can do several things to test yourself. For example, if you often find it difficult to recognise someone from a distance or are unable to read road signs, it could all be signs of developing myopia. You might also struggle to perceive distance or have a general unawareness of distant objects.

Other common symptoms of myopia can include headaches, eye strain, excessive blinking, or frequently rubbing your eyes.

You can also look for these signs in other people, such as your children or friends, and encourage them to see an optician. Some of the first signs of myopia in children are when they experience difficulty seeing the board clearly in the classroom; something teachers can quickly notice.

Blurred whiteboard in class

What causes the symptoms of myopia?

If you have myopia, it usually means your eyes are slightly too long in shape. This is nothing to worry about and is unnoticeable to others; it just means that light focuses just in front of your retina, rather than on it, which can result in blurry vision from a distance. 

Short-sightedness does not usually pose a risk to your eye health and means that you may have to wear glasses for myopia to correct the symptoms. When you begin to notice a change in your vision, book an appointment with your optician, and they can quickly identify any corrective needs with your eyes. By attending regular appointments, every two years, your optician will be able to spot any early signs and will be able to monitor developments.

Wearing glasses for myopia

Glasses for myopia are a very common and easy way to manage nearsightedness symptoms but remember you must wear the right prescription glasses for your needs.

Glasses for myopia use concave lenses, which means the lenses are thinner in the centre and thicker at the edges. When the prescription is higher, the lens will be thicker. If you have a high prescription, you may want to consider finding high index lenses, resulting in thin and lighter lenses. This type of lens is often recommended for strong prescriptions and will ensure your glasses look slimmer and more attractive regardless of how high the prescription is.

If you have myopia, your near vision shouldn't be affected; this could mean you may notice scratches and smudges on your lenses compared to other wearers. It's beneficial to find a good quality anti-reflective coating for your lenses, as this will prevent your vision from being disrupted by things like smudges, scratches, water and dust.

At Essilor, we have several solutions to correct myopia to ensure that you get the most out of your vision.

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