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Focus on short sightedness

We’ve all heard the terms short and long sighted but do you know what they really mean?

In the first of two blogs we are going to take a closer look at short sightedness and what this may mean for your eyes.

What is short sightedness?

Short sightedness – or Myopia to give it its technical term – occurs when light rays that enter the eye, converge too much and come to a focal point in front of the retina giving a blurry image. In effect, the eyeball is too long. The longer it is the more short sighted (and more blurry) you will be.

In real terms it means you can see objects clearly when they are close-up, but anything in the distance may appear blurry.

Is it unusual to be short sighted?

No! Short sightedness is more common than long sightedness, and in fact it appears to be on the rise. Lots of research is going on to explore why levels are increasing.

Initial findings seem to show one cause could be that on the whole people now spend more time indoors, focusing on things that are close-up, rather than relaxing their eyes by focusing on the distance. In turn this is having an impact on their vision.

Who is likely to become short sighted?

Short sightedness tends to develop during teenage years and when people are in their early 20s.

Can I grow out of being short sighted?

No, once you are short sighted you will be for life. Although it’s not reversible (except with refractive surgery) the right glasses or contact lenses can help correct your vision.

What happens if I have just been told I’m short sighted?

Depending on how short sighted you are, you will receive a prescription for minus powered diverging lenses. One of our team will talk to you about when you are likely to need to wear your glasses or contact lenses – for example if you will need them for driving – and we will help you choose the right option to suit your lifestyle.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be very short sighted before you legally need glasses to be able to drive.

Is there any treatment that would improve my short sightedness?

There are some emerging treatments which aim to stop the progression of short sightedness. For example, if a young child is quite rapidly becoming increasingly short sighted, we may recommend special glasses or contact lenses. Although these cannot necessarily reverse the Myopia, they have been shown to be able to help slow the progression. Unfortunately, these are not available on the NHS, but it is an option we can talk through with the patient or their parent.

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