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Nearsightedness: A Very Approachable Vision Problem

The shape of your eyes determines how well you see. We are not referring to whether they are almond-shaped or round, but rather if they are long or short. If your problem is having eyes too long, you have no problem reading print or seeing people that are close to you, but when you focus on things in the distance, your vision is fuzzy or blurred. If this describes your vision, you are myopic, or nearsighted. And you are not alone, according to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 30% of the population has myopia.


How Our Long Grove Optometrist Approaches Nearsightedness

Due to its elongation, light entering the myopic eye is focused on a point in front of the retina instead of on its surface. Myopia can also occur if your cornea, the clear covering of your eye, has too much curvature. Since the root of the problem concerns the focusing of light, nearsightedness is classified as a refractive error, deriving from refraction, meaning the bending of a wave. To correct this error, our optometrist will prescribe one of several approaches which correct nearsightedness by bending the visual images entering the eye so they focus on the retina. But first he will conduct a comprehensive eye exam in order to determine which approach best fits your particular condition.

  • The simplest and most cost-effective solution is to prescribe corrective lenses to refocus the light. In order to prescribe the correct strength of eyeglasses or contact lenses, you will be asked to look through a phoropter, a device with individual lenses of varying powers which he will flip back and forth to determine which is best-suited to optimal visual acuity.
  • Should you not want to wear contacts or glasses, he may discuss refractive surgery with you. Lasik surgery, the most common type, uses a highly focused laser beam to reshape the cornea by removing a small amount of underlying eye tissue.
  • Another new state of the art option is orthokeratology also known as corneal refractive therapy. This approach involves prescribing a series of rigid gas permeable lenses to be worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea while you sleep. Not only will you be able to see without glasses if you get up during the night, but when you remove the contacts in the morning, your corneas will temporarily retain their corrected shape so you can see clearly through the day without your glasses or contact lenses.

Nearsightedness in the Future

While we would love to say myopia is diminishing, the opposite is true. Not only does it remain the most common refractive error, but it is on the rise not only in Buffalo Grove and Long Grove but across the country. Although the reason for the rising number of nearsighted Americans continue to be debated, most optometrists believe it results from computer-related eye fatigue coupled with a genetic disposition towards myopia. Rest assured, our optometrist will continue to research new technologies to approach the problem.

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