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Myopia: Exploring the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

If you have difficulty seeing far-off objects, you likely suffer from myopia or nearsightedness. Dr. Ravinder Sabherwal can examine your vision, determine the degree of the condition, and provide treatment tailored to your needs and budget. The team at Contemporary Ophthalmology of Erie can provide patients with prescription glasses and contact lenses or perform refractive surgery to correct your eyesight. 

Basics of Myopia

Although there are many potential factors contributing to myopia, most eye experts agree that it is a genetic trait. Typically, individuals with myopia have elongated eyes or sharply curved corneas. As a result, their eyes focus incoming light just short of the retina, instead of directly on it. They are thus unable to clearly see objects except at a close distance. 

Diagram comparing the shape of a normal eye to that of a myopic eye.

Myopia is usually evident by ages eight to 12. A few common symptoms that can indicate nearsightedness include:

  • Difficulty seeing objects that are far away
  • Holding objects or books close to the face
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain or fatigue

Fortunately, nearsightedness is easily managed through conservative treatments. Even severe cases are treatable when detected early.

Diagnosing Myopia

Myopia is most often diagnosed during routine eye exams. Typically, this involves a visual acuity assessment and a refraction evaluation. During the visual acuity test, the doctor will ask you to read letters from a chart at a distance of twenty feet. This helps Dr. Sabherwal determine what distances you can see at most clearly. Next, he will ask you to look through different lenses on a device called a Phoropter, which will establish which prescription is most  appropriate for correcting your vision.

Treatment Options for Myopia

The most cost-effective and conservative method for treating myopia is corrective eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses. However, recent advances in technology now allow us to offer various surgical options for myopia, as well. These include:

  • LASIK: One of the most common and successful refractive surgeries, LASIK is recommended for treating myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Using laser-based technology, the surgeon can create a small flap in the cornea and reshape the underlying tissue so that light is properly reflected onto the retina. 
  • PRK: Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is an alternative to LASIK that is usually more suitable for patients with thin corneas. Instead of creating a flap, the surgeon removes the entire outer layer of the cornea to access and reshape the deeper layers of tissue. After surgery, we provide you with a specialized contact lens your eye while it heals.
  • IOL Implantation: If you do not qualify for LASIK or PRK, we can also place permanent contact lenses to correct your vision. During this procedure, the surgeon creates a tiny incision in the cornea, through which the lens is placed in front of the natural eye lens. In most cases, we can complete the procedure in approximately 30 minutes. If necessary, we can also reverse the surgery at any time.

Which treatment is most appropriate for you will depend on both your health needs and budgetary limitations. 

Sharpen Your Eyesight

If you or your child is suffering from myopia, schedule a visit with Dr. Sabherwal to determine the most effective treatment for your situation. Call us at (814) 838-9555 or contact us online.

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