What is nearsightedness?
Being nearsighted means that you cannot see objects far away as well as objects up close. In a normal eye, light first reaches the eye at a clear structure known as the cornea. From there the cornea helps to bend light directly to one focal point on the back of your eye. The tissue on the back of your eye that receives light is known as the retina. The retina then translates light into a signal that is sent to your brain.
A good way to understand the eyeball is to use the analogy of a camera. The cornea is equivalent to the camera lens which helps to focus the light and allows it to pass through. The retina is equivalent to the film and captures the image. When you plug a digital camera into your computer, your computer then downloads those images and processes them. Your brain is the high powered computer that processes the retinal images or “film.”
In a myopic eye however, light is not focused directly onto the retina. Rather it is focused in front of the retina. This leads to blurred vision for objects at a distance. The main cause of myopia is due to the fact that the eyeball has grown too much in length. The more our eyes elongate as we grow before adulthood, the worse our myopic prescription becomes. Until around the early 20’s, the eye can continue to elongate and grow causing a decrease in vision.
An unfortunate drawback of becoming highly myopic is that there is an increased risk of vision threatening eye disease. With increased myopia, there is higher risk for retinal detachment, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. So even when myopia is correct with glasses, contacts, or even laser eye surgery, the physical condition of the eye is worse off after myopia has progressed.
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