Myopia is one of the most common refractive errors accounting for blurred distance vision. It is characterized by being able to see up close and seeing blurry at distance.
Myopia manifests itself when the length of the eye ball, from front to back, is too long and thus the light rays focus in front of the retina. Other factors that may influence myopia are the shape of the cornea, the window of the eye, and the lens of the eye. It is generally believed that myopia is primarily genetically predetermined. There are arguments that environmental factors, mainly using the eyes for prolonged periods of time with close-up visual tasks, may also influence the progression of myopia.
There is no effective treatment to prevent myopia. The progression of myopia is usually related to growth and thus usually stops progressing by the late teens to early 20's.
There are however, effective treatments to let one see clearly. The most common treatment is to wear glasses. Fortunately, with modern plastic lenses, thick unsightly glasses are a thing of the past. Contact lenses are another choice to see clearly at distance. LASIK is another option for those patients whose eyes have stopped progressing and are at least 20 years of age. Not all myopic patients, however, are candidates for laser refractive surgery such as LASIK.
There are some medical concerns with myopia. Those patients with greater than 5 diopters of myopia have a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment, posterior vitreous detachment, and floaters. It is generally recommended that any person with more that 5 diopters of myopia have annual eye exams by their ophthalmologist. Of course, if at any time one sees the sudden onset of floaters, flashes of light, or even a veil coming down over their vision, they should consult their ophthalmologist immediately.