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What is myopia?

Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a very common eye condition where distant objects appear blurry whilst close objects are clearer.

Myopia is caused by a refractive error. A refractive error occurs when your eye doesn't focus light correctly. If you're short-sighted, it means that the eye focuses light in front of your retina instead of onto it as the eye grows too long (increased axial length). The retina is the surface at the back of your eye that collects light.

Myopia can run in the family but can also occur as a result of environmental factors. It can develop at any age but usually begins in children from the age of 6 to 13. It can get worse until the eye stops growing, at around twenty years of age.

Patients who are short-sighted have difficulty reading text from a distance. For example, school age children may find it difficult to read the whiteboard at school. Other signs include sitting very close to the tv or computer screen as well as suffering from headaches or rubbing eyes.

Myopia can be treated with glasses or contact lenses which refocus light onto the retina. If your child has myopia, there are now spectacles and contact lenses available that can slow the rate of progression.

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