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Myopia (Nearsightedness)
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Nearsightedness (myopia)

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From MayoClinic.com


Screening and diagnosis

Nearsightedness is diagnosed by a basic eye exam. Three kinds of eye specialists, each with different training and experience, can provide routine eye care:

  • Ophthalmologists. An ophthalmologist is an eye specialist with an M.D. (doctor of medicine) degree. He or she is trained to have a thorough understanding of all serious eye conditions and the treatment options available to you. Ophthalmologists perform eye surgery when it's necessary.

  • Optometrists. An optometrist has an O.D. (doctor of optometry) degree. For the most part, an optometrists is limited to evaluating vision, prescribing corrective lenses and diagnosing eye disorders for referral to an ophthalmologist.

  • Opticians. An optician is an eye specialist who fills prescriptions for eyeglasses — assembling, fitting and selling them. Some states also allow opticians to sell and fit contact lenses. The American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners administer tests to certify the skills of opticians.

A complete eye examination involves a series of tests. Your eye doctor may use odd-looking instruments, aim bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through an array of lenses. Each test is necessary and allows your doctor to examine a different aspect of your vision.

According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommendations for regular eye exams include:

If you don't wear glasses or contacts, have no symptoms of eye trouble and are at a low risk of developing eye disease, it's recommended that you have an eye exam at the following intervals:

  • At least once between ages 20 and 39

  • Every 2 to 4 years between ages 40 and 64

  • Every 1 to 2 years beginning at age 65

However, if you wear glasses or contacts, have your eyes checked every year. And if you notice any problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, even if you've recently had an eye exam. Blurred vision, for example, may suggest you need a prescription change.

Children and adolescents
Children need to be screened for eye disease and have their vision tested by a pediatrician, an ophthalmologist or another trained screener at the following ages and intervals:

  • Between birth and 3 months

  • Between 6 months and 1 years

  • Around 3 years

  • Around 5 years

Your child or adolescent may need more frequent visits if he or she experiences any problems with vision or has symptoms of eye trouble. In addition, children and adolescents who have a disease that puts their eyes at risk, such as diabetes, may need more frequent eye exams.


If left untreated nearsightedness can cause complications, such as:

  • Reduced quality of life. Nearsightedness can affect your quality of life. You might not be able to perform a task as well as you wish, and your limited vision may detract from your enjoyment of day-to-day activities.

  • Eyestrain. Squinting your eyes to see in the distance can cause eyestrain and headaches.

  • Impaired safety. For your own safety and that of others, don't drive or operate heavy equipment if you have an uncorrected vision problem.

  • Glaucoma. Severe nearsightedness increases your risk of developing glaucoma, a potentially serious eye disease. Nearsighted people have two to three times the risk of developing glaucoma as do people who aren't nearsighted.


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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:37 AM