Nearsightedness is a common condition in which a person can see items that are close by but those that are far away look blurry. Even though nearsightedness affects a large proportion of the population, you probably don't know much about the condition -- which can prove bothersome when you're diagnosed with it! Here's a look at some common questions people who are diagnosed with nearsightedness have, along with their answers.
What causes nearsightedness?
Typically, nearsightedness is just caused by a natural defect in the shape of the eyeball. Symptoms may not appear until you're a certain age and your eyes fit into your head in a certain way, but chances are good that you've been genetically predetermined to be nearsighted all along.
In rarer cases, nearsightedness may be an indicator of diabetes or heart disease. However, it is never the only symptom of these conditions. If your eye doctor detects other visual changes or signs of these conditions, he or she will generally refer you to a physician for treatment. Unless your optometrist specifically mentioned the possibility of underlying disease to you, you can rest assured that your nearsightedness is just a genetic defect and nothing to be overly concerned about.
Will nearsightedness go away in time?
If you are still growing, there's a chance that your nearsightedness may disappear later on, as the rest of your body grows to accommodate your eyeball shape. However, if you're a mature adult and are nearsighted, your vision will probably stay the same (or get a little worse) as you age.
Can nearsightedness be treated with laser eye surgery?
If you do not want to wear glasses or contacts for the rest of your life, then it is worth talking to your eye doctor about the possibility of laser corrective surgery. Whether or not you're a candidate will depend on your overall health, the shape of your eye, and a number of other factors. Keep in mind that there are multiple types of corrective laser eye surgery; your eye doctor can tell you which ones are most likely to give you the results you desire.
Will you pass nearsightedness on to your children?
Your children may or may not be nearsighted. If both parents are nearsighted, their child has a 25 to 50% chance of also being nearsighted. That means there's also a 50 - 75% chance your child won't be nearsighted. Just keep an eye out for symptoms of nearsightedness, such as squinting when looking at the TV and failing to read the chalkboard. If you think your child may be developing nearsightedness, take him or her to an eye doctor for a prompt evaluation so plans can be made for glasses, if needed.
Often, patients who are diagnosed with nearsightedness are afraid to ask their eye doctors too many questions because they think they should already know more about their condition. Forget this embarrassment. If you have a question, ask it. Nearsightedness may be a rather minor medical condition, but it's still important to be educated.