Encyclopedia Home / N / Nearsightedness


  • Alternative Names

    Myopia; Shortsightedness; Refractive error - nearsightedness


    A nearsighted person sees close up objects clearly, but objects in the distance are blurred. Squinting will tend to make far away objects seem clearer.

    Nearsightedness is often first noticed in school-aged children or teenagers. Children often cannot read the blackboard, but they can easily read a book.

    Nearsightedness gets worse during the growth years. People who are nearsighted need to change glasses or contact lenses often. It usually stops progressing as a person stops growing in his or her early twenties.

    Other symptoms may include:

    • Eyestrain
    • Headaches (uncommon)

    Signs and tests

    A nearsighted person can easily read the Jaeger eye chart (the chart for near reading), but has trouble reading the Snellen eye chart (the chart for distance).

    A general eye examination, or standard ophthalmic exam may include:

    • Eye pressure measurement (See: Tonometry)
    • Refraction test, to determine the correct prescription for glasses
    • Retinal examination
    • Slit-lamp exam of the structures at the front of the eyes
    • Test of color vision, to look for possible color blindness
    • Tests of the muscles that move the eyes
    • Visual acuity, both at a distance (Snellen), and close up (Jaeger)