Myopia (short sight)

Myopia is a very common cause of blurred vision.

What are the symptoms of myopia?

A person with short sight will be able to see things up close quite clearly, like when they’re reading. But for tasks that require distance vision, like driving or watching TV, their vision is blurred.

It’s common for people without diagnosed myopia to also experience symptoms like headaches or eyestrain when trying to focus on things far away. Or for children, it can lead to other eye problems in early life like a squint or lazy eye.

In some cases, people with more severe myopia are also more likely to experience conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal detachment.

What causes short sight?

Myopia occurs when the eye is effectively too long – so the distance between the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) and the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) is too far. This means that light entering the eye is focused before it reaches the retina, which causes blurred vision.

In some cases, it could be due to the shape of the cornea, or the thickness of the lens inside the eye.

There is a huge amount of research, both past and present into the causes of Myopia. It is currently believed that hereditary factors are the most important. You are far more likely to develop Myopia if one of your parents has it. However the picture of who will or will not develop myopia is far from clear.

What help is available?

Short sight is usually detected quite early in life during a comprehensive eye test, which will test your vision as well as examining your eye in detail.

The good news is that it can easily be corrected with the use of glasses or contact lenses with a minus lens power, like -3.00. This means the lens has a concave shape (curved inwards), which helps to improve your focus.

Adults also have the option of having laser eye surgery to correct their myopia. Your optometrist will be able to help you choose the right option for you.

Did you know?

AA Members are entitled to a free eye test (valued at $60), once every two years. Remember to present your AA Membership card in store.

Frequently asked questions

Free exam for AA Members applies to standard eye examinations only, normally valued at $60. Excludes contact lens examination and visual field checks. Limited to one per AA Member every two years. Available to current AA Members upon presentation of AA Membership card.