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The inability to see distant objects clearly is called myopia or nearsightedness. This condition results when the eyeball is too long and/or the curvature of the cornea too steep, causing images to fall short of the retina at the back of the eye. It also may develop when the lens is not properly situated within the eye. Nearsightedness is a very common refractive disorder that begins in childhood and extends through early adulthood. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health optometrists have many decades of experience diagnosing, treating and managing patients with nearsightedness. For more information about Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's optometrists or to schedule an appointment regarding nearsightedness, call 206-223-6840.

Diagnosing nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is usually diagnosed and treated first in childhood, during a routine eye exam. Two common eye exams that diagnose vision problems at any age are a visual acuity test, which determines reading and distance vision, and a refraction exam with a phoropter, a machine that measures and corrects the eyes' ability to refract or bend light through the lens and onto the retina. The measurements that correct common refractive errors are called diopters.

Treating nearsightedness

There are several treatments to correct nearsightedness, with eye glasses and contact lenses being the most common. Other treatments include LASIK, PRK or LASEK surgery—outpatient procedures performed by ophthalmologists to reshape the curvature of the cornea. Orthokeratology or "ortho-k," involves wearing specially designed contact lenses during sleep that correct the shape of the cornea without surgery. Your optometrist will discuss all of these options with you.