Encyclopedia Home / N / Nearsightedness


  • Alternative Names

    Myopia; Shortsightedness; Refractive error - nearsightedness


    Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can help shift the focus of the light image directly onto the retina, producing a clearer image.

    The most common surgery to correct myopia is LASIK. An excimer laser is used to reshape (flatten) the cornea, shifting the focus.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Early diagnosis of nearsightedness is important, because a child can suffer socially and educationally by not being able to see well at a distance.

    • Complications can occur in people who use contact lenses (corneal ulcers and infections)
    • Complications of laser vision correction are uncommon, but can be serious
    • People with myopia can, in rare cases, develop retinal detachments or retinal degeneration

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your ophthalmologist if your child shows these signs, which may indicate a vision problem:

    • Having difficulty reading the blackboard in school or signs on a wall
    • Holding books very close when reading
    • Sitting close to the television

    Call for an appointment with your ophthalmologist if you or your child is nearsighted and experiences signs of a possible retinal tear or detachment, including:

    • Flashing lights
    • Floating spots
    • Sudden loss of any part of the field of vision