• Nearsightedness: Myopia Diagnosis and Treatment

    Written By: David Turbert
    Reviewed By: Brenda Pagan-Duran MD
    Feb. 05, 2019

    Your eye doctor can diagnose myopia as part of a comprehensive eye examination. He or she will use a standard vision test and ask you to read letters on a chart placed at the other end of the room.

    Your doctor will use certain examination devices to learn what is causing myopia.

    • A retinoscope shines a special light into your eyes that reflects off your retina. Retinoscopy can show whether a person is nearsighted or farsighted.
    • A phoropter measures the amount of refractive error you have. It also helps determine the proper prescription to correct your vision.

    Nearsightedness: Myopia Treatment

    There is no best method for correcting myopia. The most appropriate correction for you depends on your eyes and your lifestyle. Discuss your lifestyle with your ophthalmologist. Together, you can decide which correction may be most effective for you.

    Eyeglasses and contact lenses

    Eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common methods of correcting myopia symptoms. They work by refocusing light rays on the retina, compensating for the shape of your eye. Eyeglasses can also help protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light rays. A special lens coating that screens out UV light is available.

    Refractive surgery

    In many cases, people may choose to correct myopia with LASIK or another form of refractive surgery. These surgical procedures improve your vision by reshaping the cornea. The reshaped cornea focuses light properly onto the retina.

    Refractive surgeries for myopia include:

    • LASIK,
    • Epi-LASIK,
    • PRK,
    • SMILE, and
    • Refractive lens exchange.

    Orthokeratology

    You may have heard of a process called orthokeratology to treat myopia. It uses a series of hard contact lenses to slowly flatten the cornea and reduce myopia. It involves sleeping in hard contact lenses every night. This has been associated with an elevated risk of serious, vision-threatening eye infections. Vision improvement is temporary. After you stop using the lenses, your cornea goes back to its original shape and myopia returns.

    Low-dose atropine

    Low-dose atropine (0.01%) has emerged as an effective approach to slow the progression of myopia in children and adolescents. You use it daily and recent studies appear promising. It also appears to be safer as it avoids the complications of orthokeratology. Low-dose atropine has been adopted by many pediatric ophthalmologists recently.

    There is no scientific evidence to suggest that eye exercises, vitamins or pills can prevent or cure myopia.